Fears of a British exit from the European Union is spooking investors, with sterling volatility hitting record highs not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. Kate King reports.
The nervousness seen in Monday's markets, audible too in George Osborne's speech to a room full of the UK's business men and women. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER, GEORGE OSBORNE, SAYING: "I will mention the elephant in the room, which is that we have a referendum coming. " It's that threat of the unknown which has sent the pound tumbling to an eight-week low of a dollar forty-two. While the 'volatility index' - a measure of investors uncertainty- has hit levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. Latest polls show the chances of a remain vote have fallen and the Finance Minister wasn't going to miss an opportunity to reinforce the weight on Britain's shoulders. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER, GEORGE OSBORNE, SAYING: "Our future as an open trading successful , prosperous nation, I believe is on the ballot paper." Concerns over the economic fallout of a Brexit have been lurking for weeks - but with the vote now just ten days away its even more in focus. Many analysts believe a vote to leave will jolt Britain's economy and could see sterling fall by as much as 20 percent, And globally, it's risk status is up there will China's slowdown and the US economy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARKET ANALYST AT CMC MARKETS, MICHAEL HEWSON, SAYING: "In terms of the factors which are bound to make the most noise, I certainly think it will probably be the most significant factor on the markets, which are certainly more focused on that than they are anything else." British bookmaker William Hill is now offering its shortest ever odds on the chances of a vote to leave the European Union. With political punters waging hundreds of millions on what is becoming a very hard race to call.