In just over one week Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether to break free of the United Kingdom, dissolving a 307-year-old political and economic union, and become Europe’s newest country.
It comes as the U.K. itself debating the future of its other political affiliation – specifically its frequently bad-tempered, reluctant membership of the European Union.
Last weekend, two separate polls suggested for the first time that the ”Yes” vote would win the September 18 Scottish referendum.
The prospect of independence has created a deep sense of unease among some.
When markets opened on Monday, the British pound fell by 1.3 percent against the U.S. dollar to $1.611. Investors sold off companies with any exposure to Scotland, including the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Bank of Scotland, as well as engineering group Weir and fund managers Aberdeen Asset Management.
“Markets hate uncertainty and the only thing we can be sure of is that this vote is creating uncertainty,” David Buik, a London-based market strategist for investment firm Panmure Gordon, said.
Neither side has been able to say what will happen if Scotland breaks free.
The British government has insisted a currency union with Scotland using the pound will be out of the question.