Business World

Monday 20 November 2017

Pound rises to six-week high against euro on Cyprus fears

Lukanyo Mnyanda and Peter Flanagan

IRISH exporters were given a fillip yesterday after sterling hit its highest point in six weeks.

The pound rose toward a six-week high against the euro amid concern political wrangling over a €10bn bailout of Cyprus has undermined faith in Europe's financial system.

Irish exporters have been under the cosh in Britain since the pound started to fall sharply in recent months.

A strong pound means products being shipped from the euro area become cheaper and so more affordable for British buyers. This is key for the Irish companies, as the UK remains our biggest trading partner.

Irish Exporters Association chief executive John Whelan has previously warned about the danger of a weaker sterling for exporters.

Such a fall, "if continued, will undermine the competitiveness of our goods and services exports to the UK", he claimed last month.

Yesterday, sterling erased a decline versus the common currency after Nicholas Papadopoulos, a Cypriot lawmaker and chairman of the parliamentary finance committee, raised the possibility of the country leaving the 17-nation bloc.

The pound dropped against the dollar while UK government bonds were little changed.

The pound climbed 0.2pc to 85.14 pence per euro in London. The UK currency weakened 0.4pc to $1.5177.

While Cyprus wants to remain within the euro, "leaving the eurozone now is a valid point that has to be explored because we are going to enter into a very deep recession, high unemployment with no prospect of growth and we need to examine if there are other ways to solve these hurdles", Mr Papadopoulos said.

Irish Independent

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