Markets Insider
  • The pound surged as much as 2.1% against the dollar after exit polls showed a Conservative majority in the 2019 UK election.
  • Official UK exit polls published on Thursday evening showed a big majority for Boris Johnson's Tories.
  • Official election results will start to come in from midnight.
  • Pound traders cheered the certainty of the outcome, and a Tory win would give Boris Johnson a clear Brexit mandate.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa's homepage. 

The pound surged on Thursday after exit polls showed a conservative majority in the 2019 UK election, paving the way for a clear Brexit path.

The pound rose as much as 2.1% against the dollar, to about $1.34, and 1.8% against the euro at 10:09 p.m. as pound traders cheered the exit poll results, which showed that the Tory party was expected to win a bigger than expected number of seats in Parliament.

Pound traders had been hedging their bets on the election, as a Tory win would have given Boris Johnson a clear Brexit mandate to move forward with his deal with the EU and for Britain to leave by the end of January.

"The exit poll shows a whopping victory for the Conservatives and the perfect result for the market and for business," said Neil Wilson, an analyst at Markets.com. "Markets hate uncertainty but they would have hated a Corbyn government a lot more." "All the fears about a hung parliament have proved unfounded," he said. "It's a big enough margin that even if things come in a bit we are in for a Tory victory tonight and looking at a strong Conservative government. If it plays out like this, it would be the biggest majority for the Tories since the heady days of Margaret Thatcher."

With Johnson's lead in the polls prior to election day slimming, some traders were worried that the Brexit uncertainty would continue if there was a hung parliament.

Goldman Sachs earlier this week said that the election provided considerable risks and traders were piling into hedges against a plunge in the pound.

Official UK Exit poll :

  • Conservatives: 368 (+51)
  • Labour: 191 (-71)
  • SNP: 55 (+20)
  • Liberal Democrats: 13 (+1)

This is a developing story.

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