Thursday, 6th October: On Sunday, Theresa May announced that Article 50 would be triggered by the end of March 2017 – ultimately indicating that by March (Q1) 2019, the UK will no longer by part of the EU. The consequence of her announcement? Sterling has fallen to a 31-year low at the initial reaction but has continued to plummet over the course of the week. GBP/USD currently stands at $1.26, nearly 15% lower since 23rd June. GBP/EUR is €1.13, 12% lower.
As has been evident since the fallout in sterling, the UK blue-chip index has only soared higher. This week the FTSE 100 broke through the 7,000 points mark for the first time since May as investors have once again swarmed towards overseas earners (of which the FTSE 100 is heavily dominated). The FTSE 250 closed at record levels earlier this week while the FTSE 100 wasn’t far off. The indices closed Thursday lower by 0.46% and 0.47% respectively.
EasyJet were grounded to the bottom of the FTSE 100 today after releasing a 3 month trading update. The travel & tourism industry has been plagued with geopolitical issues of late but despite this, the affordable airline recorded record passenger numbers who have benefitted from lower air fares, despite currency movements impacting holiday costs. The group state that foreign exchange movements are due to have around a £90m adverse impact in their current financial year – their jet fuel purchases are priced in US dollars, of which has become a lot more expensive following the crash in sterling. easyJet ended the day lower by 6.9%, reaching new 2016 lows.
Major retailers in the UK DFS (Q1 trading update)and Dunelm (prelim results) demonstrated different customer trends as the UK’s warm summer impacted the latter’s sales. Total revenue at the out-of-town small homewares retailer had a “dampening effect” on store footfall whereas sales increased over the year at DFS as homeowners further take the opportunity of cheap finance.