The decision by UK voters to leave the European Union sent the British pound plummeting more than 10 percent against the U.S. dollar early Friday, to $1.35, its weakest level since 1985, and injected chaos in global financial markets.
The euro weakened 4 percent, and global stock indexes fell or braced for heavy losses — Japan's Nikkei index dropped 8 percent, London's FTSE was projected to open down 7 percent, and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped by more than 500 points. Britain is the world's fifth largest economy, and No. 2 in the 28-member European Union (after Germany). Leaving the EU will pull Britain out of a major free-trade union and force it to negotiate new trade deals with the U.S. and other nations, and it leaves London's status as a global banking center up in the air.