A recent poll showed that supporters of Scottish independence are gaining traction ahead of a September 18 referendum. A YouGov survey for the Sunday Times newspaper showed 51 per cent approved of Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom.

"The speed with which the polls have flipped has clearly been a shock to a lot of people," Adam Myers, European head of FX strategy at Credit Agricole in London, told Reuters.

The British pound tumbled, sliding 1.3 per cent against the greenback.

"If they were to vote 'Yes' then sterling could drop another 10 per cent so the tail risk is big," Graham Davidson, a foreign-exchange trader at National Australia Bank in London, told Bloomberg News.

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