Asian stocks cratered, gold prices surged and the dollar briefly plunged below 100 against the yen on Friday as financial markets were rocked by results from the U.K. referendum on European Union (EU) membership that pointed to a Brexit.
The U.K. voted to leave the EU, a dramatic turn that polls did not predict, and which markets failed to adequately price in.
With all 382 districts declared, the leave camp secured 51.9 percent of the vote with 17.4 million votes, throwing markets around the world into turmoil and prompting sterling to hit its lowest level since 1985.
The ramifications of the result were already reverberating across the wider political and economic establishment.
David Cameron announced his resignation as prime minister of the U.K. Friday morning London time, saying in a statement he is likely to be gone by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October. In the stock market, European equities traded sharply lower.
"The biggest concern for markets is what the implication of Brexit will be for the European Union," said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at spreadbettor IG. "There is a strong incentive for the EU to make the U.K.'s exit as punitive as possible to severely diminish the risk of other members making the same move."
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 tumbled to close 7.92 percent lower on the back of fresh strength in the yen. This was the worst day since since March 15, 2011 when the Nikkei lost 10.55 percent.
The Japanese yen initially weakened to as much as 106.81 against the dollar in early trade, but tracking a drop in the British pound amid the results from the U.K. referendum, the currency strengthened. As of 3:47 p.m. HK/SIN, the dollar fell to 102.96 against the yen, having briefly fallen below 100 earlier.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi lost 61.47 points, or 3.09 percent, to 1,925.24.
Australia's ASX 200 dropped 167.50 points, or 3.17 percent, to 5,113.18, as stocks with exposure to the U.K. tumbled.
Henderson Group closed down 12.03 percent; the investment management company is listed both on the Australian Securities Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Similarly, shares of Clydesdale Bank, which was spun-off from the National Australia Bank's U.K. business, finished down 17.51 percent. BT Investment shares dropped 14.19 percent.
Major Australian banks also sold off, with shares of ANZ off by 4.09 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 3.27 percent, Westpac down 4.42 percent and National Australia Bank down 3.79 percent.
Chinese mainland markets closed lower, with the Shanghai composite down 38.33 points, or 1.33 percent, at 2,853.62 and the Shenzhen composite down 14.60 points, 0.76 percent, at 1,900.59. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index finished down 609.21 points, or 2.92 percent, at 20,259.13.