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.