THESE are exciting times for Britain’s currency, and not in a good way. On the eve of the vote on whether to leave the European Union, back in June, a pound bought you $1.48. Sterling has since declined by more than 16% against the dollar, to $1.22. Nearly half of the drop has occurred in the last week or so, as the Conservative government has outlined plans for a “hard” Brexit: one which shoves Britain right out of the single market in exchange for the ability to do more harm to itself by reducing migration.
In a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Greg Ip (a friend and former colleague of this blogger) does a nice job explaining the links between Brexit and a tumbling pound. Markets anticipate that it will become more costly for British firms to sell goods and services to Europe. Europeans will consequently buy fewer of them, and therefore fewer pounds, leading to a weaker currency. That is, cheap sterling is part of the adjustment to a loss in British competitiveness: the mechanism by which Britons come to spend less on foreign goodies (now…Continue reading