Buying a property abroad can be difficult especially with the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit. But considering the advantages and disadvantages, and doing your own research wisely, you will be able to buy a property without throwing your life savings away. It will be good to discuss your property purchase with a currency specialist who will help you understand the market and offer assistance when making large or regular international transfers. This will be significant particularly due to the current political chaos in the UK. On Wednesday, Merkel gave the prime minister an ultimatum to find a solution with regards to the Irish backstop, as the pound slipped to low levels, close to the ones seen back in January 2007.

Brexit

In his meeting with Merkel, Johnson accepted the German Chancellor’s "blistering timetable" admitting that it was the UK’s burden to find a solution to the political deadlock. In his familiar humorous style, Johnson repeated Merkel's campaign slogan "Wir schaffen das," or "we can do it," causing laughter among the Chancellor and reporters.

In a Bloomberg article, it was reported that after Boris Johnson’s letter to EU officials, the French government now expects the U.K. to leave the EU without a deal, something that would immediately install border controls at the end of October.

The article notes that with Johnson becoming prime minister, EU officials believe that a no-deal Brexit would be the most likely outcome, as the UK “doesn’t have a realistic plan for an alternative to the backstop. The measure is despised by ardent Brexiteers in Johnson’s Conservative Party because it keeps the U.K. tied to many of the EU’s customs and trading rules, and Parliament has rejected the Brexit deal three times.”

Buying your dream or retirement home

Despite the political deadlock in the UK, if you have made your research and you are certain about moving abroad and purchasing your dream home, then there’s a few things you need to have in mind.

First, you should research the area of your desired property and find out the benefits of living in that neighbourhood. Are there any amenities nearby, is there access to the beach or the motorway, and generally, what is the atmosphere and feeling of the area and community? You will have to live there and, perhaps, in the future, sell the property with significant returns. So, trying to get the best deal for the best location will definitely enhance your investment in the future.

Make sure that you are not buying something you have never seen in person before. In the case that a developing company will take care of the construction of the building, but you have only saw the plans, do your research beforehand and find out whether the developers are reliable. Having a contract that guarantees that by the end of the project you will get what you were promised is the most secure way to safeguard your interests. Not only foreigners, but locals have fallen in the trap of buying a property but not the land is on, resulting in court cases and lots of stress.

Talk to the experts

From currency exchange brokers, to mortgage brokers and lawyers you will need specialist help when deciding to relocate and purchase a property abroad. In this sense, you will need to factor in costs for legal advice, taxes, notary fees, utilities, such as electricity, water, and gas connections.

Buying a property in France or Italy, 10%-12% of the property’s purchase price would go to cover government taxes and legal fees, while in Spain can go up to 12%-16%.

If you are buying property abroad, it is very important to go to a specialist such as Universal Partners FX. With the current volatility and weak pound, it is best that you contact a currency specialist as soon as you start the buying process, so that you get the best exchange rates possible and pay the minimum amount of fees. UPFX conduct in-depth market analysis, use state of the art technology and can offer access to the best exchange rates available. Get in touch with them today to find out how much you can save on your currency transfers.

On Monday, Tony Lloyd, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, said that Boris Johnson was pursuing a Brexit that was either “disastrous” or a “fantasyland wishlist.”

Lloyd was responding to a letter that the prime minister had written to the EU about reopening the Irish backstop issue and suggesting its replacement by some form of commitment that would guarantee the prevention of a hard border between the UK and Ireland. Johnson’s new position contradicts his previous support of Theresa May’s deal. As Tony Lloyd said: “Boris Johnson seems to have forgotten that he voted for Theresa May’s deal including the backstop. Whichever Brexit outcome he pursues, whether it’s a disastrous no-deal or this fantasyland wishlist, Boris Johnson clearly has no qualms about putting jobs, rights, prosperity or peace in Northern Ireland at risk.”

While Johnson believed that the EU will be receptive to his proposal, on Tuesday Donald Tusk rejected his request. As a response, a Downing Street spokesman said: “that unless the withdrawal agreement is reopened and the backstop abolished there is no prospect of a deal. It has already been rejected three times by MPs and is simply unviable as a solution, as the PM’s letter makes clear.”

Johnson has stated on more than one occasions that he is willing to crash out of the EU without a deal on 31 October, despite warnings that the UK will face food and medicine shortages.

The letter

Johnson’s letter is an attempt at negotiating with the EU which appears as a regressive move, bringing up again the controversy around a hard border with Ireland that the EU and many in the UK and Ireland are clearly against. Before meeting European leaders, Johnson addressed the four-page letter to the President of the European Commission Donald Tusk saying that the backstop is “anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK.” He added that there could be different customs arrangements at the Irish border within the two-year transitional period after Brexit. However, having some general commitments in place that would prevent a hard border until the proposed system was agreed, was also a solution, Johnson noted.

But the EU does not wish to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and the backstop. According to Guardian sources: “There was a two and a half year negotiating process in which the EU compromised, including on the question of the backstop. The withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation and the backstop is not open for change. A legally operable backstop to avoid a hard border remains central to the withdrawal agreement for the EU27.”

Johnson said: “I propose that the backstop should be replaced with a commitment to put in place such arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period, as part of the future relationship. I also recognise that there will need to be a degree of confidence about what would happen if these arrangements were not all fully in place at the end of that period. We are ready to look constructively and flexibly at what commitments might help, consistent of course with the principles set out in this letter.”

In the letter, he claims that the backstop is anti-democratic because it could force “the UK potentially indefinitely into an international treaty which will bind us into a customs union and which applies large areas of single market legislation in Northern Ireland”.

But an EU source described the letter as “a total moving of the goalposts on an issue of great importance and sensitivity that affects the lives of people on the island of Ireland.”

What happens next?

Johnson has also been accused by Tory MPs who have written a letter saying that the prime minister is preparing for a no-deal Brexit as his demand for the abolition of the backstop is simply impossible.

According to No 10, the prime minister has been clear: “there cannot be any actual negotiations unless the backstop goes; that’s the message he has delivered to leaders in his phone conversations and he will do that face to face. We have been clear that what the EU needs to understand is unless the withdrawal agreement can be reopened and the backstop abolished, there isn’t any prospect of a deal.”

Johnson will be meeting Merkel in Germany on Wednesday and on Thursday Macron, but the eyes of EU leaders will be on the UK, Tory MPs and opposition leaders as they attempt to block a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Are you importing or exporting?

If you are an importer or exporter who transfers money internationally, you are aware of the unpredictable movements of the pound due to Brexit and ongoing political developments. Universal Partners FX can offer valuable assistance, in-depth knowledge of the markets and tailor hedging strategies to help you make the most of your money. Give them a call today and find how much you can save on your international money transfers.

Buying property in France or Spain has recently been complicated due to Brexit. For many Brits already living there, there are still many questions, a lot of them related to health and access to medicine. The possibility of a no-deal Brexit overcomplicates things too. Let’s see what a no-deal Brexit involves and what it means in terms of health for the many Brits who already live or want to move there.

What is a no-deal Brexit?

No deal means that the UK would leave the European Union (EU) without any agreement about the status of their future relationship. In a matter of fact, it would immediately be left out of the single market and customs union, and consequently lose its privileges of trading between EU members without complex checks and tariffs (on imports). But this will also have a massive impact on other facets of our lives steeped in European institutions and regulations. We will leave the European Court of Justice and Europol, its law enforcement body, and lose our membership of many other EU bodies including the European Medicines Agency (EMA) responsible for the evaluation and supervision of medicinal products. 

While Theresa May has strived to pass her Brexit deal through Parliament, a deal which would at least ensure that the UK would be guaranteed a 21-month transition period to organise the situation and have time to negotiate a trade deal, this is now not the case. On the contrary, with PM’s Boris Johnson’s declarations of leaving the EU with or without a deal, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is back on the table.

No-deal Brexit

Leaving without a deal means that the 1.3 million Brits living in the EU are suddenly left in a very complicated situation. By crashing out of the EU, means leaving behind the institutions that have for all these years protected us and given us security, health insurance and various other agreements that benefited us and guaranteed our smooth stay abroad.

If you are going on holiday, the government has advised that you buy travel insurance before you leave. However, if you are living abroad, Spain has already agreed to guarantee continued healthcare access to tourists and British expats until the end of 2020, provided that the UK grants Spanish living in the UK the same rights.

In France, things are more complicated, especially for those that spend six months of the year there. Both British and French governments have advised British expats to apply for a Carte de Séjour residency permit, however, many prefectures have halted applications until Brexit becomes clearer.

According to The Local,  both governments are willing to come to an agreement on healthcare as many French people live and work in London, and many Brits live and work in France. Unfortunately, no bilateral talks can officially begin unless Brexit has happened.

For many Brits, the idea of facing medicine shortages and feeling totally helpless is a nightmare. Many have said that, diabetics are stockpiling supplies of insulin by giving themselves less on a daily basis” to avoid dealing with shortages in the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. As Euractiv reported, “many of Britain’s 3.7 million diabetics, who include Prime Minister Theresa May, depend almost entirely on insulin imports from continental Europe.The hormone, which is usually produced by the pancreas, helps diabetics regulate their blood-sugar levels. A no-deal Brexit would almost certainly mean re-establishing customs and health controls, which could lead to delays at the border.”

But as the UK, Spanish and French governments are willing to alleviate any problems and help European residents and expats get the healthcare they need, they will hopefully be no problems in the case of Brexit.

As you are deciding to buy property abroad and worry about currency volatility and political events such as Brexit that cause unpredictable market movements, it is a good idea to get in touch with a foreign exchange expert and discuss your money transfer needs. Universal Partners FX have years of experience in the foreign exchange industry and can offer assistance when making regular payments abroad and sending large amounts of money internationally.

Many businesses that export only to the EU do not have the necessary papers to continue trading after a no-deal Brexit, reports have shown.

According to the Liberal Democrats, statistics showed that no deal would be a “wholly irresponsible political choice,” but the government said that despite only a small number acquired the necessary documentation, these were nonetheless “the firms responsible for the bulk of exports to the EU.”

Once the UK crashes out of the EU, UK firms would require an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to be able to comply with economic operators and customs authorities.

 What is an EORI number?

EORI stands for “Economic Operators Registration and Identification number” and can be used by both business and individuals when trading. The EORI number acts as an identification number in all customs procedures making processes efficient, not only for customs authorities, but also for statistical and security purposes.

The EORI number is made up of two parts. One includes the country code of the issuing Member State and the other a code or number that is unique in the Member State.

According to the European commission, a legal entity such as a company or a natural person can request an EORI. More particularly, “persons established in the customs territory of the Union should request the assignment of the EORI number to the customs authorities of the EU country in which they are established.” Also, “persons not established in the customs territory of the Community should request the assignment of the EORI number to the customs authorities of the EU country responsible for the place where they first lodge a declaration or apply for a decision.”

Exports and imports 

If you are a firm that exports and imports outside the EU, you will have an EORI number, but as The Guardian notes, “registration has become a pressing issue for the 245,000 who trade internationally only within the EU. A no-deal Brexit would be particularly difficult for them because, instead of having current rules apply during a transition, they could find their trading opportunities shut down after 31 October without an EORI number.”

In another article by the Business Insider titled “Just 3 in 10 British firms that export to the EU are prepared for a no-deal Brexit,” it is said that only a 27% of British businesses have secured an EORI number and that there is a growing concern that British businesses will not be prepared for a no-deal exit on 31 October.

Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna obtained information from the Treasury that shows that many firms are simply unprepared for a no-deal Brexit. The figures also show that if exporters apply for an EORI number at the current rate, all businesses won’t be registered until maybe the start of 2021. Umunna said that the statistics show “an overwhelming majority of UK exporters to the EU are unprepared for a ‘no deal’ Brexit and will not be in a position to deal with the mountain of red tape and bureaucracy it will burden them with on 31 October.”

He added: “Pursuing a ‘no deal’ Brexit is a wholly irresponsible political choice of the new administration for which there is no mandate and which will put businesses and jobs at risk. Any form of Brexit will harm the economy and put obstacles in front of UK firms which is why Liberal Democrats not only want a final say for the people on any deal but are also the only party that can get into Government which is committed to stopping Brexit altogether.”

British small businesses are not prepared for a no-deal Brexit in October, and, as the Business Insider pointed out, are even less prepared than they were back in March. On the other hand, businesses that already spent millions of pounds for a no-deal Brexit in the spring are now less motivated to spend more money in case there are further delays, while others just simply cannot afford it.

Chancellor Sajid Javid’s announcement last week for additional no-deal Brexit funding is not especially encouraging as most of it will be used towards government competencies, and not really towards helping businesses prepare. 

A spokesperson for the HMRC – the department responsible for issuing EORI numbers – said it was doing “everything we can to help businesses get ready for the UK leaving the EU. Businesses who import or export goods need to take action, the first step of which is obtaining an EORI number (if they don’t already have one.) It’s simple and free and can be done online.”

If you are an exporter or importer and you worry about Brexit volatility, getting in touch with your currency exchange specialist will give you some peace of mind. Universal Partners FX are experts in the foreign exchange markets and can assist you when transferring large amounts of money or making regular international transfers. Get in touch with them today to find out how much you can save on your international money transfers.

Buying property abroad in Brexit times can be stressful, especially when Boris Johnson, the new PM, has announced that the government will be setting aside an extra £2.1bn for preparations in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Nonetheless, many Brits continue to move to France, despite being considered a costly decision and one of the most expensive countries in the region. But, with its lifestyle, amazing food and cheap wine, and the fact that housing can be quite affordable in certain regions, make France one of the most attractive places to call a second home.

Brexit update

The extra no-deal Brexit funds will be used for stockpiling medicines, adding 500 more border officials and paying for a public awareness campaign about disruption. Johnson’s government aims to convince the European Union that the UK can handle a no-deal Brexit, and it will be able to do so, in three months, on 31 October. Johnson has clarified that he prefers to reach a deal with the EU.

Sajid Javid, the new chancellor, will provide a cash boost of £1.1bn with an extra £1bn available if needed, which means that this year’s spending will increase to £6.3bn.

Labour has criticised the spending which is an “appalling waste of tax-payers’ cash, all for the sake of Boris Johnson’s drive towards a totally avoidable no deal.” John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said: “This government could have ruled out no deal, and spent these billions on our schools, hospitals, and people. Labour is a party for the whole of the UK, so we’ll do all we can to block a no-deal, crash-out Brexit, and we’ll deliver a transformative economic policy that delivers for the many, not the few.”

Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons public accounts committee said: “Just because Boris Johnson is making it sound like he’s fighting a war, with seven-days-a-week meetings in Whitehall, that is not licence to spend taxpayers’ money like water, throwing good money after bad. It is of course responsible for a government to be prepared for an emergency. But this is an emergency of the government’s own making – boring though it may be that taxpayers’ money could be spent on essential public services. There isn’t much headroom. There is a bit more than there was but not much. And I don’t think his spending pledges add up.”

The business group the CBI warned that neither the UK nor the EU are prepared for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, as certain “aspects cannot be mitigated.” The Institute for Goverment on Monday said that there was “no such thing as a managed no deal” and that a “clean break” from the EU is just impossible.

In the meantime, conservative MPs are considering how they can stop a no-deal Brexit if Johnson decides to leave without a deal. Many of us are also considering escaping to France, as Brexit chaos appears unresolved and the situation in the UK is becoming more complicated day by day.

France

While data comparison from Eurostat shows that France “is one of the more expensive places in the EU, with most categories being above the EU average,” British expats still consider the place as an ideal destination for certain reasons. While Paris together with Singapore and Hong Kong are “the world’s most expensive cities,” according to The Economist, there are other places and equally attractive options in other parts of France.

Truth be told, cars can also be expensive, while bringing one with you from the UK and registering it after six months can be a complicated and expensive process. According to The Local, white goods, electronics, DIY equipment and building materials for house renovations, were listed among Brits’ most expensive items.

However, the cheap price of wine in France and its unparalleled quality is incredibly alluring. Especially, if you decide to live in the countryside, restaurants offer cheap meals but high quality. According to a British expat quoted in The Local: “All the villages within a 40km radius of me have small restaurants where I can get a superb lunch for €13-14 with ‘buffet à volonte', main course, cheese, dessert, coffee and red wine included. And the quality is way above any café I would find in the UK.” Drinking and eating local, as well as going to the cinema are some of the amazing and cheap things you can do in France.

Most importantly, the affordable properties you can find is an important incentive. According to The Local, “almost all readers named house prices as one of the country's big benefits.” Nigel Day in Charente said: “The price of houses, whether renting or buying (except in big cities and the Mediterranean strip) is still a bargain, although nothing like it was 15 years ago.” With cheaper "annual housing taxes,” Brits still consider France an ideal home.

If you are interested in buying a property in France, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to discuss the most affordable ways to transfer your funds and protect them from currency volatility due to Brexit. UPFX are foreign exchange experts with years of experience in the financial markets and can offer assistance to move your funds safely and fast. Give them a call today and find out how much you can save or your international money transfers.

Sterling has suffered after Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit rhetoric caused reaction among economists and cabinet ministers who continue to warn against it.

A free trade agreement after no-deal Brexit

Johnson’s government and figures in his cabinet, such as Dominic Raab, said that the UK would be in an advantageous position to negotiate a good deal after no-deal Brexit. European Union officials rejected Raab’s claim that agreeing on a free-trade deal after a no-deal Brexit would be “much easier.” A senior EU diplomat expressed the EU’s fears that a no-deal Brexit would trigger the destruction of political relationships and a rhetoric of blaming.

He said: “It would mean the complete breakdown of political relations and I don’t think there would be much trust on the EU side with the Tories, or with the prime minister. Eventually we would get around it because we are pragmatic, but this would be really, really bad, because of all the rhetoric around blaming.”

For another diplomat, after a no-deal Brexit, contact between the EU and the UK would break down: “Our phones will not be connected at that time … I don’t think they will be connected to someone who has reneged on their obligations.”

For the European officials, the most important element is to honour the three basic principles of the withdrawal agreement: citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the financial settlement.

Despite Johnson’s claims to the opposite, renegotiating a trade deal would be a lengthy and arduous process, something almost impossible. As Tanja Fajon, the Social Democrat member of the European parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said, renegotiating “a free trade agreement usually takes years and I believe the UK doesn’t have that time after a no-deal Brexit.”

In addition, Johnson’s character, his threatening attitude towards the EU, make him an unlikeable character according to the MEP, allied to the Labour party: “Who would want to do business with [Johnson] if he is serious with his threats not to pay €60bn (£54bn) debts to the EU? Who wants to deal with the country who doesn’t pay its bills?”

EU hoping for soft Brexit Tories to stop no-deal Brexit

 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Raab said that it would be easier to deal with the Irish border through a free-trade agreement after the UK is released from the EU’s “demands and unilateral dictates.”

Over the weekend, it was rumoured that Johnson was “turbo-charging” preparations for no deal, while his strategist for a no-deal Brexit, Michael Gove, said the government was preparing for leaving without a deal.

 

But the EU is reluctant to reopen the deal that was agreed with Theresa May, hoping that certain Tories would try and prevent the hardcore Brexiteers from crashing out of the EU without a deal. The EU would seek to defend its own interests, a spokesman of the European commission said, as Johnson’s ministers continue supporting their no-deal Brexit plans.

He said: “The UK preparedness is not for us to deal with. Our no-deal preparedness protects the EU and our interests in the case of a no-deal Brexit. A no-deal scenario is not our preferred outcome.”

Universal Partners FX and hedging strategies against volatility

Whether you are an importer or exporter, or you conduct your business abroad through regular transfers of funds, the recent no-deal Brexit rhetoric has definitely affected your finances as the pound has sunk against the US dollar and the euro.

While the government would ideally want to avoid a no-deal outcome, leaving without a deal is increasingly becoming a very likely prospect, something that is worrying both investors and ministers.

If you want to hedge your funds and avoid currency volatility, get in touch with UPFX and find out how they can hep you navigate around political and financial uncertainty.

Spain is a great choice for buying property abroad according to business and finance magazine ABC Money.

While Brexit continues to worry Brits buying property in Spain, the article argues that by 2020 political uncertainty might dissipate and Brexit be resolved. As it notes, “If this does happen markets may begin to stabilise, and there will be far less volatility, for example in currencies. Understanding the costs can make it easier for investors to feel confident.”

However, with Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister and a new cabinet committed to “leaving the EU on or before 31 October, ‘no ifs, no buts,’” it is hard to consider what kind of Brexit resolution there will be.

Nonetheless, it is hard to change your decision to buy abroad once you have made up your mind. Of course, Brexit might be something that will remain a constant source of anxiety, but this does not mean that it can cancel out your decision to buy.

Spain as an ideal choice

If you like feeling part of community, then the large British expat community living in Spain might be enough reason to convince you. More importantly, life in Spain is relatively cheap, property value is on the rise and the quality of life is higher than that of the UK.  Many expats choose sunny places such as the Costa del Sol and Marbella, while others prefer the bustling life of cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.

Property prices

The Spanish property market is currently enjoying a healthy rise, and this is not just temporary. According to a report from Marbella’s real estate agency Panorama, residential property prices rose an average of 6.7 percent across Spain. Hundreds of new modern houses are being built in the greater Marbella area (including Estepona-East and Benahavís), while 20 year old buildings are being refurbished to the highest standards, with many high quality properties for sale.

The report points out that according to the Ministry of Public Works and figures of the National Institute of Statistics, “2018 ended with the best results of the last ten years, with 557,919 residential properties sold (not including public housing sales) of which 50,875 were newly built properties and 507,044 sales of resale properties. These figures represent an increase of 9.4% over the previous year with a sharp upturn in sales noted in January 2019.”

Prices are now returning to those seen before the financial crisis, something that means that they will continue to grow. In this respect, ABC Money argues that “investing in 2020 should see you with a property that will continue to grow.”

Buy to let homes

In the recent years, many are deciding to rent their holiday homes and increase their income, getting a healthy return on their investment. Even if you use the property as a holiday home, you can still rent it during those months you are back in the UK. Since Spain, like many other Mediterranean countries, is a popular holiday destination, with a holiday market that is growing, such a decision makes perfect sense.

A great time to invest in property

With interest rates being very low, now is perhaps the ideal time to get a loan and invest in the Spanish property market. With savings being low and investment opportunities in other countries poor, investing in a property might be the safest way for return on investment. According to ABC Money, “with the Central Bank of Spain forecasting a 10.5 per cent return on residential properties now is the perfect time.”

Universal Partners FX is a great choice when you consider buying a property abroad and transferring your money. With years of experience in the currency market, UPFX are experts in transferring large amounts of money fast and securely. Get in touch with them today to find out how much you can save on your international money transfers when you buy a property.

Liam Fox’s trade envoy Andrew Percy has resigned after attacking the government’s move to cut import tariffs if the UK crashed out of the EU without a Brexit deal.

Percy felt “patronised” by the international trade secretary and claimed that the government’s policy would threaten the existing trade deal with Canada, which is worth £800m. The resignation aims to underline that a no-deal Brexit will be disastrous for the UK as it questions Fox’s promise to replicate 40 trade agreements and ensure a smooth Brexit.

More resignations

In addition, the resignation is one among many, as a series of resignations by senior ministers were meant to thwart any moves towards a no-deal Brexit. The resignations by Tory MPs will also ruin Boris Johnson’s smooth march into Downing Street this week.

Philip Hammond and David Gauke’s resignations “highlight the perilous political climate for Theresa May’s expected successor.” With Johnson expected “to be announced on Tuesday as the victor over Jeremy Hunt in the vote of Conservative members,” the resignations hold an extra significance. It is not only Hammond and Gauke’s resignations, but there is a possibility of other ministers and junior ministers opposed to no deal, such as the international development secretary, Rory Stewart, resigning soon after.

Gauke  told the Sunday Times: “Given that I’ve been in the cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign.” He added: “If the test of loyalty to stay in the cabinet is a commitment to support no deal on 31 October – which, to be fair to him, Boris has consistently said – then that’s not something I’m prepared to sign up to.”

Gordon Brown has also come forward to warn against a no-deal Brexit, saying that future historians would view it as “an act of economic self-harm that runs wholly counter to the national interest.”

No-deal tariffs

Percy’s resignation is then another warning among many about the terrible impact of a no-deal Brexit. For him, a no-deal Brexit and cutting import tariffs were a huge mistake that would cost them existing trade deals. According to The Independent’s sources: “Andrew warned them back in March, as soon as the UK’s no-deal tariffs were published, that it would mean the Canadians would not go for rolling over the Ceta [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement] deal. He could see they were getting 95 per cent of what they wanted if a no-deal happened, that the tariffs were better than what is in Ceta – so why would they rush to sign up to what the UK wanted? He said it was such a cack-handed approach, but he was patronised by a couple of ministers – including Liam Fox – and told that everything was going to be fine.”

In March, the UK announced that tariffs would be slashed “temporarily” on 87 percent of imports, after a no-deal Brexit. For this reason, Canada felt that there was no reason to carry over the Ceta, one of the most important of the 40 deals, despite pressure from the UK government.

Barry Gardiner, attacked Liam Fox for his lack of understanding of how international trade works and said that “Andrew Percy’s resignation, claiming he was patronised and ignored when he was clearly ‘telling it like it is’, is sadly typical of the arrogance Liam Fox displays to everyone who disagrees with him.”

Don’t let your finances be affected by Brexit

Boris Johnson might be closer to becoming a PM, but Brexit continues to be thorny issue, while the idea of a no-deal Brexit is becoming less appealing for more Tory ministers. Whether Johnson will get the UK out of the EU with or without a deal, or whether Fox really understands international trade, remain to be seen. But what is certain is your ability to make wiser choices and protect your business and finances from political and financial instability. A foreign exchange broker is the best choice for an importer or exporter who transfers money internationally and Universal Partners FX can offer valuable assistance when moving large funds abroad or making regular payments. Give them a call today and find how much you can save on your currency exchange.

With Brexit being shrouded in uncertainty, many Brits are dreaming of moving abroad and buying property in the vibrant and romantic southern part of France. 

Southern France and, particularly, Provence, as a Telegraph article tells us, is also the place where Vincent van Gogh produced more than 150 paintings, a place where “the lure of the Bouches-du-Rhône department of Provence endures” to this day. Beautiful and magical, “an hour north-west of Marseille and 25 minutes south from the Eurostar or TGV at Avignon, there is a sophisticated array of eateries that service a well-established second-home market, where a pale-olive or dove-grey shuttered Provençal stone mas (farmhouse) is the dream.” It is not difficult to imagine the lures that have driven many of us to such a location. 

Natural beauty dispels Brexit fears 

Brexit anxieties, the spectre of Britain’s European identity weighing heavy on the political landscape, seem to dissipate as one imagines the French medieval villages nested amidst olive trees and pines. As an agent with Knight Frank attests: It’s a “picture-perfect cluster of medieval villages, with traditional weekly markets under plane trees, all with the backdrop of the foothills of the Alpilles, this is classic Provençal life.”  

There is culture and art everywhere, with half of the buyers being wealthy Parisians and Monaco royalty, and the other half British, Swiss, Belgians and Germans. As many of us dream, a big 3-5 bedroom house with a pool and garden seems to be as close to perfection as it gets, but not without a price: “For €1 million (£900,000) you can achieve, this but not with a view; this can push up the price to €2.5-3 million.” For example, with €7.9 million, you can get pure luxury in Saint-Rémy: a “seven-bedroom property … within 10 acres of grounds with 500-odd olive trees, an outdoor cinema, a swimming pool and eye-catching sculptures.”  

Even with prices this high, buyers are still very much interested. Millions of worth of property is still as alluring as ever, since the market is active “and things go for close to asking price.” As the Telegraph article points out, “people choose to buy in Les Baux for the views and in Saint-Rémy for the address.”  

Little Britain? 

Interest in Southern France has remained strong and continues to grow, as many Brits desire their own warm corner in this part of the world. As a result, house prices have increased but, more recently and due to Brexit, prices have dropped and somewhat stabilised. Provence has become the home for many of us Brits, where we have brought our traditions, from cricket teams to fish and chips and pubs.  

But is this what we really dream of? Brexit has brought to the surface many issues regarding our identity, and replicating our British lives abroad appears to be problematic. On the one hand, “we Brits have rescued from oblivion and restored with care buildings that would otherwise be heaps of ruins. We have brought money and tourism to French regions and, in some cases, helped to revive villages that were moribund. Many Brits take an active part in the local community and in cultural and social associations, although most of us are careful to act like foot soldiers rather than generals.” 

 

For these reasons, and because of Brexit, France is in many ways our second home, but we should avoid turning this beautiful and magical corner into little Britain, altering the tranquility and unique character of French customs.  

If you are also dreaming of moving to France and, like us, you have fallen in love with that magical part of Provence, then Universal Partners FX are here to solve all your questions about buying property abroad and transferring your money. Give them a call today and find out how much they can save you when transferring your hard-earned money.  

Property in Spain

Neither a weak currency nor Brexit seem to deter Brits from dreaming of buying their property in Spain. According to removal company AnyVan, Spain is the number one desired destination for British expats, beating such places as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Dubai.

 

AnyVan poll

In a new poll carried out by removal company AnyVan, people in the UK were asked where they would like to live if they could choose anywhere in the world. 13% of Brits said they would choose Spain, while a 12% said they would equally prefer New Zealand or Australia. Other popular places were the US (10%), Canada (9%), Italy (7%) and France (6%). The CEO of AnyVan, Angus Elphinstone, said: "It's nearly a national sport in the UK to dream about moving. From flicking through property prices and listings on Rightmove to sitting down to watch one of the vast number of primetime TV shows offering advice to those looking to change homes for a place in the sun. Our research highlighted where people dream to move to, but there were still 16% of residents who didn't want to move anywhere."

The research demonstrated the differences between ages, as younger people looked for career opportunities in wealthier and bigger countries, where they can work and live comfortably. For example, those under the age of 34 were attracted to the US, with 16% admitting the US was their favourite, followed by Australia and Spain. Dubai was also a favourite among the young, as 4% wanted to move to the Middle East. On the other hand, those over the age of 55, dreamt of moving to New Zealand (14%).

 

Spain: the UK favourite

It's not just because of the sunny Barcelona or Madrid, the flamenco, bullfights and paella. Spain is so much more for Brits and offers everything they could wish for away from home. It's a stunning destination, with a lively culture. But it has also started to improve economically, with youth unemployment being down to 33 percent from over 50 percent in 2013. This is a place where both the young and the old will get to enjoy a rich lifestyle, without feeling isolated or far away from home.

 

Buying property in Spain is not such a bad idea

Brexit uncertainty might not be a defining factor when choosing to move abroad, but it can definitely hurt your finances when transferring large sums of money. It is not surprising that many economists and business professionals are warning that a no-deal Brexit will make things even worse, as the price of the pound could plummet, while many businesses could be under threat. The pound is currently down, especially due to fears of a hard Brexit and because of Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace May, who has said that Britain could leave the EU without a deal at the end of October.

If you are enthralled by Spain and its people, and want to move there, Universal Partners FX can help you with your international transfers and explain the process of moving funds or making regular payments when buying a property abroad. UPFX operates with no hidden fees and ensures that multiple international payments are more cost-effective. With their comprehensive hedging strategies, you can get a level of financial stability and security. Their unparalleled customer service means that you can get hold of them at any time, and they will make sure that your money will get where it needs to be within 24 hours.

If you would like to learn more or want to just understand how currency experts can save you money, give them a call today.