This week in Brexit

Sterling tanks… again

Back in 2008, the pound sterling depreciated for 12 days in a row, before rising once again. That was in August ‘08, when Lehman Brothers went bust.

The pound has, once again, experienced a 12 day losing streak against the US dollar, the weakest since June 2017.

Why? Investors have scrambled to invest in the dollar following uncertainty in emerging markets such as Turkey, coupled with the effect of recent ONS inflation data, suggesting sluggish growth lagging behind inflation. The pound has slumped in value by around 4% versus major currencies since April. Inflation growth has increased faster than wages, meaning Britons have been hard hit by poor performance of the UK economy.

All of this was on top of a difficult July, off the back of numerous resignations from the Cabinet, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Minister, David Davis. Challenges from International Trade Secretary Liam Fox also sparked a sterling sell off who said that a ‘no deal Brexit’, which looked more likely, would hit the pound hard.

UK Property Price Growth slumps

Average UK house prices are still rising, but rising at the slowest pace for 5 years, according to the ONS and Land Registry. Driven by uncertainty around Brexit, slow wage growth and increasing mortgage prices due to an interest rate hike.

Whether a correction in the ‘property bubble’ or a result of a larger market slowdown, London has seen the sharpest fall since 2009, with house prices decreasing by 0.7%.

House of Fraser in Turmoil

One of many High Street retailers going into administration or cutting high street stores, House of Fraser, employer of 5000 staff, announced this week it was going into administration before being bought up by billionaire Sport’s Direct’s Mike Ashley for £90 million.

The drop in business confidence, a decrease in high street / consumer spending and the struggles for importers suffering from a weak pound are certainly a jigsaw piece in the bigger picture of how Brexit and geopolitical events are shaping the UK economy and sterling.

Today their website went down – as a result of customers complaining about delayed deliveries.

A Levels – More Chinese A Levels than German

Chinese A Levels have overtaken the number of German A Levels taken by students as they embrace themselves for a post Brexit world. Some 3384 Chinese A Levels were taken in 2018, slightly more than the 3058 in German, driven by a surge in the number of Chinese A Levels being undertaken.

In a new world of forging important relationships beyond the EU, languages such as Mandarin are certainly in high demand, although the overall uptake of languages undertaken by students continues to fall each year, with STEM subjects taking place.