It is not often, nor prudent, to use superlatives to describe the movements of major currencies against each other, however today it can certainly be a time when a superlative is appropriate do describe the performance of the British Pound and its seemingly unstoppable race to the bottom.
Using the word ‘tanking’ to define the performance of a national economy or currency is somewhat drastic, but in recent weeks, the British Pound certainly has been tanking.
And tank it did again this morning.
As the markets open in London today, the British Pound begins the day at 1.15 against the US Dollar, representing the lowest value that it has reached in more than five years.
In March 2020, when incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his now infamous aides Chris Whitty and Matt Hancock rolled out the yellow booths and continued to justify their draconian lockdowns which decimated the economy, the British Pound’s value only reached a low point of 1.23 against the US Dollar, which is still considerably higher than its value today.
Given that the lockdowns took place in other Western countries at the same time, it is important to note that the British government frittered away over £400 billion of national funds on white elephant projects to keep people out of their places of employment such as furlough, state-backed loans to small businesses and Orwellian track and trace systems.
This emptied the coffers and along with the almost two years of disrupted industry and low productivity as well as a continuing apathy in which tens of thousands of employees are still not going to their offices, the piper now has to be paid.
The British government got itself involved in the geopolitical activity in Russia and Ukraine, and in doing so created its position as an ‘unfriendly’ country to oil producing Russia, meaning a massive rise in energy prices, although this was mainly a knock-on effect from mainland Europe which relies on Russia for 40% of its natural gas whereas the UK only relies on Russia for less than 10%.
Even so, this situation has created high energy prices, and let’s not forget that over 30 energy firms exited the UK market in the third quarter of 2021, many of them having entered administration, creating a market which lacks competition.
The cost of living crisis and spiraling inflation, unaffordable energy bills and low productivity has now created the bearish sentiment in the minds of investors and traders, and the British Pound languishes at a very low point.
It would of course be easy to state that the United States had lockdowns too, and that it also is intent on showing that it wishes to prolong hostilities with Russia, however some US states had no lockdowns at all (Florida and Texas, two of the most populous and highly industrialized states in the Union being two of them), and the productivity levels in the United States are still high.
Yes, inflation is still at its highest point since the 1980s but it is nowhere near as high as that in most mainland European nations, and certainly not as high as that in the United Kingdom which, according to some commercial bank analysts is heading for 18% or more by January this year, with interest rates possibly rising from 1.75 to over 7% next year.
Should that occur, there will likely be an unsustainability in repayment of domestic and commercial loans, hence the lack of confidence in the Pound and general performance of the British economy in the immediate future.
The question is, will we see parity?
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