The pound took a pause from its rally on Monday when it gained 2.4 per cent. Coupled with a gain of 1.1 per cent on Friday, the currency has jumped 3.5 per cent over two trading days — its biggest since December 16 2008 and also its seventh-largest since 1971.
So far this year the pound has traded as high as $1.4816 at the start of 2016, and as low as $1.3836 in February.
The pound’s rise on Monday was prompted by a series of polls that showed Britons were increasingly likely to vote to remain in the EU in Thursday’s referendum on membership in the 28-country bloc.
Sterling has become a prominent measure of investors’ attitudes towards the country’s referendum, with the currency’s fluctuations mirroring changes in opinion polls and volatility spiking to levels last seen in the 2008 global financial crisis.
Some analysts say that in the event of a Brexit, sterling could depreciate by 10 per cent against the US dollar to about $1.30, before drifting to the mid- to high-$1.20s over the following weeks.