Sunday 15 December 2019

Pounded: Brexit bargains evaporate as sterling surges on Tory election lead

Clear lead: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ahead in the polls. Photo: REUTERS
Clear lead: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ahead in the polls. Photo: REUTERS
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Irish shoppers hoping to capitalise on the UK's political crisis with pre-Brexit bargains have missed the boat.

Ahead of Black Friday, the pound surged in tandem with Boris Johnson's re-election prospects.

Sterling has risen dramatically against the euro as UK polls point towards a clear Conservative Party lead in the UK elections.

In early August, when the UK faced the prospect of a crash-out Brexit by Halloween, sterling fell to a low of just 93 pence to the euro.

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As recently as October 10, the euro was buying almost 90 pence - boosting the spending power of Irish consumers buying online from the UK, or crossing the Border to shop, but putting huge pressure on retailers here.

But by yesterday a euro bought just over 85 pence as markets bet firmly that Boris Johnson's Conservative Party would win decisively in the UK's general election on December 12, leaving him in a position to implement a Brexit withdrawal agreement struck between the UK and the remaining EU member states in October.

Sterling's boost was reinforced after a political poll late on Wednesday put the Conservatives on course for their best election result since the Thatcher era.

Investors are now betting that will break the ongoing deadlock at Westminster that has characterised the Brexit process, and effectively did for Johnson's predecessor Theresa May.

Irish Independent

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