Yen sags as polling puts Bremain slightly ahead, sterling jumps

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sterling surged early in Asia on Friday while the safe-haven yen fell broadly on growing confidence that Britain will stay in the European Union after polling stations across the United Kingdom closed.

Polling firm YouGov said the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union appeared to be ahead.

Sterling, which had been climbing in the past 48 hours, extended gains to hit $1.5000 GBP=D4 for the first time since mid-December. The euro fell to its lowest in more than three weeks, dipping below 76.00 pence EURGBP=R.

“It’s early days and there will be twists and turns through the early hours of this morning but, for now, the markets have taken that YouGov poll as a strong indication that the Remain camp has won,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at international payments company World First in London.

Optimism that the UK will stay in the EU hit demand for the safe-haven yen. The dollar and euro rose to two-week highs on the yen, reaching 106.875 yen JPY= and 123.000 yen EURJPY=R respectively.

Reporting by Ian Chua; Additional reporting by Richard Leong in New York; Editing by Eric Meijer