The pound sank to a fresh 31-year low as the fallout from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union continued to reverberate through financial markets.
The U.K. currency fell beyond $1.28 -- four cents below its weakest point the day after the nation’s June 23 referendum. The yen climbed at least 1 percent against all 16 of its major counterparts as investors sought havens from the turmoil that’s also weighing on global stocks.
The pound has tumbled to three-decade lows for the past two days amid mounting evidence the Brexit vote is hurting confidence in Britain’s economy. M&G Investments suspended a 4.4 billion-pound ($5.7 billion) real-estate fund Tuesday, following on the heels of Aviva Investors and Standard Life Investments after a flurry of redemption requests. With the real estate tremors and fund suspensions echoing the start of the 2007 financial crisis, concern is building that a failure to control the aftershocks of the referendum will propel the nation into a recession.
“One-and-a-half weeks after the referendum, we’re starting to see negative things starting to crystallize in the economy in the U.K.,” said Richard Falkenhall, a strategist at SEB AB in Stockholm. “Considering the pace we’ve seen over the last couple of days, we could probably easily see $1.25 in cable before things settle.”
The pound fell 0.6 percent to $1.2941 as of 10:30 a.m. in London, after reaching $1.2798, the lowest since 1985. Cable is a term for this sterling-dollar rate. The Bloomberg British Pound Index, which measures the U.K. currency against major peers, has tumbled 13 percent since the referendum, and dropped to the lowest since the data started in 2004.
The yen gained 1.2 percent to 100.49 per dollar, and touched 100.40, its strongest level since the day the U.K. referendum results were announced. The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1053, adding to Tuesday’s 0.7 percent slide.
The pound has been the biggest loser from Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and almost all the analysts who’ve changed their forecasts since the referendum are expecting the currency to remain weak. Of the 43 new predictions in a Bloomberg survey, all but five are for sterling to end the year at or below $1.30, with the most bearish -- Julius Baer Group Ltd. -- foreseeing a drop to $1.16.
While a weaker currency is a boon for exporters, which may cushion some of the economic pain of Brexit, sterling’s continued slide is a signal of waning confidence in the U.K. since the referendum.
“I am expecting quite a sharp reduction in investment spending, a sharp hit to the commercial property market, probably a check to consumer spending, all of which could push us toward zero, or below, growth,” John Gieve, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England and veteran of the last crisis, said Tuesday in a Bloomberg Television interview.
The yen, which briefly advanced beyond 100 per dollar in the immediate aftermath of the U.K. vote, is being used as a refuge from Brexit’s widening impact -- which may make it harder for Japan to meet its economic targets. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said June 28 that the government will carefully watch currency movements, and that he’d asked Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda to co-operate with the Group-of-Seven nations to secure market liquidity.
“The yen strengthened in anticipation of further declines in Japanese stocks,” said Toshiya Yamauchi at Ueda Harlow Ltd., a margin-trading services provider in Tokyo. “Risks to further upside in the yen are growing and it may test the 100 level to see how the authorities respond.”
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