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The pound is riding a rollercoaster as Britain votes in the EU referendum

The pound is on a rollercoaster ride on Thursday as Brits go to the polls in the country's historic referendum on whether the UK will leave the European Union.

At about 4:00 p.m. BST (11:00 a.m. ET) sterling is around 0.7% higher against the dollar, to trade at $1.4800, having reached a daily high of $1.4934 around 11:30 a.m. BST (6:30 a.m. ET).

As polls opened at 7 a.m. BST (2 a.m. ET) sterling was hovering just below $1.48, but it fell sharply, dropping to $1.4731 at 7:45 a.m. BST (2:45 a.m. ET). It then took off upward, after a new poll from Ipsos Mori showed the Remain camp with 52% of the vote.

It is important to note that the poll is merely a survey of voting intentions and is not an exit poll.

"The four-point gap is nail-bitingly close — especially with heavy rain threatening to dampen turnout in London which is a key target area for Remain," the Evening Standard, which commissioned the polls, said.

Here is the chart of how Britain's currency looks so far on polling day. Note the big up-and-down movements:



Regardless of Ipsos Mori's poll, the outcome of the referendum is hugely uncertain, with other polling agencies reporting swings between the Leave and Remain camps in the past few days. For instance, one TNS poll conducted online from June 16 to 22 and released Wednesday put Remain at 41% (+1) and Leave at 43% (-4).

What will happen to the pound on either a Leave or a Remain vote is uncertain, though analysis from banks suggests that the pound could drop as much as 15% in the event of a so-called Brexit and rally 5 to 10% in the event of a Remain vote. Sterling has rallied strongly in the past few days on positive polling data for the Remain camp. On Monday the currency gained more than 2.4% against the dollar to have its best single session since October 2008. Earlier, HSBC warned that investors and voters should be careful about reading too much into movements in the pound on Thursday.

On the day, the pound is also up 2.16% against the Japanese yen and down about 0.02%  against the euro to trade at €1.3018.

Polls across the UK are open until about 10 p.m. local time, and the first results are expected just a couple of hours later. The outcome of the referendum is expected to be clear early on Friday morning. You can follow Business Insider's Live blog throughout the day.

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