Brexit fallout sends pound to 168-year low

Posted in Google Brexit News
at 2016.10.14
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Brexit fallout sends pound to 168-year low

Patrick Hatch

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The fallout from the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote has led to the British pound falling to its lowest level against the Australian dollar in three years and, on one measure, to its weakest position in 168 years. 

The sterling has dropped to 31-year lows against the US dollar and slipped 15 per cent against the euro since Britain’s shock vote in June to the leave the European Union. 

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And this week the pound fell to record lows on its effective exchange rate index – which measures the currency against a weighted basket of Britain’s major trading partners.

Data from the Bank of England shows that, on that measure, the pound on Wednesday fell to its lowest level since 1975.  

The sterling has dropped to 31-year lows against the US dollar. The sterling has dropped to 31-year lows against the US dollar. 

According to the Financial Times, it was the also the lowest since the measure began in 1848 – the year Marx and Engels published the Communist Manifesto.

The pound’s century-and-a-half low exchange rate is 15 per cent down from before the UK Brexit referendum, and continued to slide over the past week amid talk Britain could be heading towards a “hard Brexit”, in which it would lose access to the EU’s single market.

“The movement in the pound on a trade-weighted basis simply tells us that the pound’s fall has been extremely broad-based,” ANZ chief economist Richard Yetsenga said. 

“The more broad-based the currency decline, the larger the effective currency adjustment the economy’s receiving. So this may be one reason that even with quite acute economic risks around Brexit, the UK equity market has gone up.”

The Bank of England’s effective exchange rate index measures the pound against dozens of the UK’s major trading partners, with most weight given to Euro-area countries (43 per cent), and the United States (18 per cent).

The pound's effective exchange rate is at a 168-year low. The pound’s effective exchange rate is at a 168-year low.  Photo: Paul Harris

Australia makes up 1.4 per cent of the formula. 

Visiting the UK or buying goods online from British sellers is the cheapest it has been for Australians since July 2013 because of the post-Brexit vote pound rout. 

The pound has fallen a further 6.4 per cent. The pound has fallen a further 6.4 per cent. 

$1 bought 51 British pence the day before the Brexit vote. That has surged since the shock “leave” victory and on Friday the Aussie was buying 62 British pence.


The dollar has strengthened two pence in the past week alone, amid continued volatility in the pound after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would trigger the country’s exit from the single European market no later than March 2017. 

Mr Yetsenga said the movement between the dollar and pound was almost entirely because of volatility in Britain, rather than any particular strength in the Aussie dollar,  with no end in sight to the uncertainty.  

“Scotland’s saying ‘if you go ahead with Brexit, we want another referendum, because we said we wanted to be part of Europe’, some members of parliament are saying ‘if you bring it to parliament we’ll vote against it’, Europe is saying ‘if you want to exit it’s going to be a hard exit and nothing else’.  

“There’s so many moving parts at the moment it’s difficult to even settle on a valuation schematic for the pound, let alone become in any way confident for a fair value range for the currency.

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Published at Fri, 14 Oct 2016 07:23:37 +0000

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