Saturday, 20 July 2019

Pound falls ahead of Theresa May Brexit speech

LONDON: The pound has hit its lowest level for more than three months on reports Britain was set to quit the EU single market as part of its Brexit plans. Sterling fell below the $1.20 level before recovering slightly on Monday. The pound also dropped to a two-month low against the euro, falling more than 1% to about €1.13 in Asian trading. Analysts said traders were reacting to reports that UK Prime Minister Theresa May would use a speech on Tuesday to signal a so-called “hard Brexit”. Reports have suggested she will signal pulling out of the EU single market and customs union, although Downing Street described this as “speculation”. The pound has fallen about 20% against the dollar since June’s EU referendum, to lows last regularly seen in 1985. Much of that volatility has been due to uncertainty about the economic impact if the UK gives up its tariff-free access to the EU. The pound’s latest fall comes as US President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview that the fall in the pound was “great” for British business. Mr Trump suggested his Scottish golf course in Turnberry had benefited from the fall in the value of sterling, and that “business is unbelievable in a lot of parts in the UK”. A weaker pound helps make UK firms more competitive abroad, but it also makes foreign holidays and imported goods more expensive.

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