For those just catching up on the main news event of the weekend, namely the sudden surge in Scotland “Yes” vote polling surpassing 50% for the first time, here is a complete round up of the background, updates and expert reactions from RanSquawk, Bloomberg and AFP.
ANALYSIS: THE CASE OF SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE
Recent polling shows the ‘Yes’ campaign overtaking the unionists for the first time, just 10 days ahead of the final vote on September 18th Independent Scotland runs the risk of limited currency options and fiscal uncertainty UK debt ratings hang in the balance as worst-case scenario sees Westminster shouldering an estimated extra GBP 140bln in former Scottish debt BACKGROUND
The ‘No’ party – the unionists – are led by Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, previously held a lead over the nationalists but this has reversed in the most recent polling, with the ‘No’ vote holding 49%.
The ‘Yes’ party – the nationalists – are led by Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, and harbour hopes of swinging the referendum in their favour as latest polls suggest they have been overtaken the ‘No’ camp by 2ppts.
Serious doubts remain over the future of Scotland’s currency if the nationalists win. Salmond has repeatedly stated his intention of keeping the GBP, but all 3 main UK parties have made clear they would not be willing to share their currency and central bank with a foreign state. Also, a potential use of the GBP without a currency union would not be compatible with EU membership, as the EC requires member states to have a monetary authority of their own.
HOW WILL THE MARKET REACT?
‘No’ Victory – Given the somewhat complacent attitude market participants have had towards the vote indicates that the upside in riskier assets is limited in case the unionists win the referendum with a large majority. Nevertheless, expect to see some tightening in spreads of the shorter-dated implied volatilities which have widened heading into the risk event.
However, a close vote could lead to a second referendum in 5-10 years and as such, changes to UK regional governance would take place as a result of more devolution, with additional powers going to Scotland such as more autonomy over taxation. In turn, business leaders, including the head of Standard Life and RBS, will have to decide as to whether to relocate their headquarters to the UK or stay in Scotland depending on what type of policies Scotland decides to pursue with its additional powers.
‘Yes’ Victory – Great uncertainty revolves around an independent Scotland, specifically due to the lack of clarity over the potential new fiscal arrangements such as interest rates, taxation, investor protection, financial stability and monetary policy.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/08/2014.