The final round

Tuesday night's TV debate was the last before tomorrow's referendum on EU membership. Each side argued that realisation of the other's ambition would be catastrophic. It was a jolly bit of television, peppered with dog-whistle soundbites, but neither side brought anything new to the table and the pound was unaffected.

Sterling was broadly higher for a fourth consecutive day, helped by the continuing perception that more people will vote to Remain in the EU than to Leave. It was an average of 0.3% higher on the day against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies, strengthening by exactly that much against the Swiss franc and the Australian dollar. The euro was at the back of the pack for a second day, losing another cent to sterling, and the US dollar was down by a quarter of a cent.

The opinion-poll-driven euphoria that began at the weekend has been enormously helpful to the pound, taking it an average of 3% higher over the last three days. However, it has not been enough to offset the losses suffered by the pound earlier in the year. Sterling is still down by an average of -5.5% from its position on 1 January.

Central banks cautious

The heads of the Federal Reserve and the European Central bank attended their respective parliaments yesterday afternoon to update them on monetary policy and the economy. Neither displayed any burning passion to take interest rates higher.

Mario Draghi was first up. He was cautious about pace of economic growth, once again saying that the ECB would roll out more stimulus if it were to become necessary. It was that possibility that was mainly responsible for the euro's bad day. On the matter of a possible Brexit Sig. Draghi said "the ECB is ready for all contingencies" and that the bank has "done all the preparation that is necessary".

In Washington Janet Yellen set out a similarly sober scenario. She was even less gung-ho than at her last public appearance, leading investors to question whether there would be any interest rate increase at all this year, let alone one next month. As for Brexit risk, Ms Yellen said it "could have significant economic repercussions". 

Arranging the sandbags

With less than 48 hours until the referendum results start appearing, investors will be busying themselves making sure that they are not excessively at risk to possible financial tumult on Friday. They will not be falling over themselves to get involved with pushing currencies around.

On the basis that a) the referendum could go either way and b) the impact of its result cannot be quantified in advance it behoves anyone exposed to the value of sterling to give some thought to what protection might be appropriate. If in doubt, discuss it with your account manager.

There are some ecostats on today's list: South African inflation and Canadian retail sales spring to mind. Ms Yellen returns to Congress this afternoon but is unlikely to say anything new.