The Brexit chaos sparked a foreign exchange frenzy in Australia

NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images

The brexit referendum in the UK saw intense foreign exchange activity in Australia as people scrambled to buy and sell British pounds.

The Commonwealth Bank had to suspend its retail foreign exchange transaction for a few hours Friday evening.

“We temporarily suspended FX transactions across our retail channels for a short period between 6.30 pm and midnight on Friday night due to the extreme volatility in the market,” a spokesman said.

“This only impacted a small amount of retail customers trying to make new conversions to or from the GPB on Friday night. Importantly, our customers who already had GBP on their travel money cards or in their foreign currency accounts were not impacted.”

ASX-listed foreign exchange and payment provider OFX, formerly called OzForex, says payment activity spiked leading up to the vote and after the outcome became clear.

“I am delighted to say that following weeks of careful planning in the lead up to the vote OFX was able to process a record number of transactions, a record volume of turnover and generate record levels of revenue,” says CEO Richard Kimber.

OFX set new daily and a weekly benchmarks, surpassing previous levels set during 2008 in the GFC.

Its shares were up 5% today to $2.29.

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