Why The British Pound Matters

By: Kathy Lien

AT A GLANCE

  • > After 1,200 years, the pound remains the fourth most traded currency in the world
  • > If Brexit causes money to flock out of the UK, a declining pound would ripple through currency markets

On a historical basis, the British pound is extremely important. It is the oldest currency in the world that is still in continuous circulation.

There have been a lot of ups and downs in its 1,200-year history but the pound, commonly known as sterling, is the fourth most actively traded currency behind the U.S. dollar, euro and Japanese Yen.  With a well-developed English-speaking financial market, it has long been a popular investment destination.  While the London Stock Exchange is only the world’s seventh largest, London is the world’s leading foreign exchange center with nearly double the daily foreign currency turnover as New York.

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