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    Sterling jumps above 1.49 as Brexit poll puts remain ahead

    The pound rose to fresh six-month highs against the dollar on Thursday after an opinion poll indicated that the remain campaign was in the lead as voting continued in a landmark referendum on whether the U.K. should remain in the European Union.

    GBP/USD hit highs of 1.4943, the most since December 24, a gain of two cents for the day.

    The opinion poll, conducted by polling company Ipsos MORI for the Evening Standard newspaper, showed that that 52% of voters wanted to remain in the EU, compared to 48% in favor of Leaving.

    Sterling had already reviewed a boost late Wednesday after opinion polls indicated that support for the Remain campaign edged into the lead.

    A YouGov poll for The Times newspaper showed that 51% of voters supported the campaign to remain in the EU, with 49% supporting Brexit, after a previous YouGov poll showing a lead for the campaign to leave.

    A second poll, conducted by ComRes for the Daily Mail newspaper and ITV (LON:ITV) television showed the Remain campaign had a 48% to 42% lead over the Leave camp.

    Investors fear that a Brexit vote would hit global stocks, bonds and currencies, in particular the pound, which some analysts have predicted could slump by 15%.

    Reuters reported Thursday that finance leaders form the G7 nations will issue a statement stressing their readiness to take all necessary steps to calm markets in the event of a Brexit vote.

    Rating agency Standard and Poor’s said Thursday that Britain’s triple A credit rating would be downgraded within a short period of time if the U.K. were to exit.

    Sterling rose to fresh three-week highs against the euro, with EUR/GBP down 0.61% to 0.7627.

    Against the dollar the single currency pushed higher, with EUR/USD rallying 0.87% to 1.1391.

    The dollar rallied against the safe haven yen, with USD/JPY up 1.24% to 105.67, rebounding from the two-year trough of 103.53 set last Thursday.

    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.68% at 93.17.

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