The pound is not expected to rise higher from current levels, analysts have said.  Brexit tensions and an early interest rate hike by the Bank of England could eventually push the pound lower. Barclays warned of possible Brexit tensions rattling the foreign exchange market, while HSBC analysts said that the pound is not cheap and that there are significant risks to the UK outlook.

HSBC analysts

HSBC currency analysts believe that the pound should have been higher than current levels, considering market expectations for an earlier rate hike. The fact that the British currency has failed to advance despite these developments, suggests that political risks are returning to the currency.

HSBC analysts do not see scope for further Sterling gains, as the pound faces opposing forces including growth, inflation, rate expectations and external balances. They argue that the pound’s trajectory will become clear once one of these forces dominates the other. The bank said that Sterling could gain in the near-term due to the Bank’s expected rate increases but this would be offset by a deteriorating economy as the Bank’s monetary tightening fades quickly. The high energy costs combined with higher inflation will slow economic growth, the analysts added.

  • Brexit vote and financial crisis

HSBC noted that the pound has been deeply affected by the Brexit referendum in 2016 and earlier by the 2008/9 financial crisis. Both events have influenced the fair value assessments of the pound and they argue that currently the UK currency is closer to fair value and even expensive against other currencies.

  • Inflation

HSBC bank notes that the UK is expected to grow at a slower pace while exhibiting the highest inflation in over a decade, with fears of stagflation hurting the pound. In a survey conducted by Barclaycard, 90% of the shoppers said they were concerned that rising costs of everyday items would affect their household finances.

Barclays

Barclays analysts are also concerned with the pound outlook as they have pointed out that tensions between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland protocol could negatively impact on the foreign exchange market. Failure to reach an agreement might result in the UK triggering Article 16 of the protocol, triggering retaliation measures by the EU such as tariffs and impacting on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). Any such scenarios will hurt the pound.

Britain wants to negotiate a “new protocol” to regulate post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland, Britain’s Brexit Minister David Frost said in Lisbon on Tuesday. Ahead of the European Commission's formal response to the UK’s plan, Lord David Frost said the EU would be making a “historic misjudgement” if it refused to rewrite the Brexit deal covering trading arrangements for Northern Ireland. Brussels has warned the UK that they are not in a position to indulge themselves in important renegotiations.

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.

 

The pound is not in any crisis, Pound Sterling Live argued this morning, citing a range of media and newspapers that continue to claim that the pound is in trouble. There are potential dangers of course, especially from a return of Brexit anxieties, but there are also supportive factors such as the ongoing economic recovery and the prospect of an early Bank of England interest rate rise in late-2021/early-2022. Analysts at Pound Sterling Live also noted that a mixed set of views on the outlook of a currency is a common thing and does not signify a serious concern.

Pound concerns

At the same time, Bloomberg, has warned that the pound is going to fall, and said that investors are betting against the pound as they are worried that Bank of England’s efforts to reduce inflation would hurt consumer sentiment and the growth outlook.

Traders have increased their bets against the pound, as they expect the currency to fall at the fastest rate in more than two years. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, RBC Europe Ltd., and Société Générale SA strategists are also expecting the pound to fall to levels last seen in late 2020. Bloomberg highlighted that sentiment was at its most bearish in seven months, as traders are not optimistic on the pound. 

The UK’s high inflation and low growth are also reasons for concern for Bank of America strategists who said “any strength in the pound is an opportunity to sell.” Analysts are concerned that inflation and the end of the furlough scheme will influence real incomes. Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey warned of a potentially “very damaging” inflation period unless the Bank acts accordingly. By tightening its policy earlier, the Bank could also tighten household spending and increase mortgage payments, undermining the UK’s recovery.

Strategists for RBC have also noted that higher interest rates could push the pound lower, and many are concerned that if the Bank moves too fast, there will be a squeeze in real incomes, which is already evident due to high energy prices and tighter fiscal policy.

Pound not in crisis

While the pound to dollar rate might be weaker, the drop is not demonstrating a “chaotic” fall, Pound Sterling Live analysts have suggested. They have criticised different analysts who have linked supply chain issues to the UK’s performance. While such problems are real, Pound Sterling Live analysts have argued that such issues are not specific to the UK, and they pointed to the US and similar supply chain issues.  In regard to the fuel crisis, they criticised panic-buying and motorists who have run to fuel stations. They have also pointed out that the connection of the pound to emerging market currencies is false, as a lot of the weakness of the pound can be blamed to a stronger US dollar. As they say, many investors have mistakenly taken a very negative stance towards the pound, arguing that there are tougher times ahead and the macro-outlook for the pound is deteriorating.

The dollar’s safe-haven status and its higher demand in times of global economic nervousness has helped elevate it at the expense of the pound.  Pound Sterling Live has also clarified that the mixed range of forecasts offered by major financial institutions is not indicative of a crisis but is natural among other currencies. Risks of course remain, but they argue that the negative pound outlook is overstated.

 

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.

 

The pound was up against the euro on Wednesday, strengthened by higher UK bond yields and expectations of an earlier interest rate hike by the Bank of England. Sterling rose to a three-week high against the euro yesterday, as traders returned their attention to the prospect of interest rate hikes in Britain. The pound was down last week, due to rising inflation concerns, but it has now recovered.

Sterling’s recovery is mainly due to the prospect of the BoE raising interest rates sooner than expected, but analysts have commented that the pound should have risen even higher especially because of the important difference between the European and UK central banks. While the BoE has clearly stated its intention for an earlier rate hike, the European Central Bank has no plans to raise rates soon. Economists have warned that caution should be exercised though, as the pound’s gains might not be long-lived. It is still unclear whether the BoE will proceed to raise interest rates while the UK is facing ongoing supply problems.

Inflation

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said inflation fears were baseless. The final reading of the IHS Markit/CIPS composite Purchasing Managers’ Index showed that companies increased prices at the fastest pace on record, following shortages of staff, raw materials and transport.

Brexit

The pound has yet to react on Brexit risks after the UK told the European Union on Monday it would  “trigger safeguard measures in their divorce deal if the bloc failed to agree to changes to smooth trade with Northern Ireland.” Speaking at the Conservatives' annual conference in Manchester, Brexit minister David Frost stated that "Without an agreed solution soon, we will need to act, using the Article 16 safeguard mechanism, to address the impact the protocol is having on Northern Ireland." The EU is putting together a package of measures to ease the passage of goods from Britain to Northern Ireland, using flexibilities in the protocol, which will announce next week.

Tighter policy could weaken pound

Goldman Sachs Asset Management has said that tighter policy could weaken Sterling. The firm’s strategist for the global fixed income team said that high inflation and energy prices, and Brexit implications could further complicate the inflation outlook. Fears of higher inflation combined with the ongoing supply-chain crisis and an end to the government’s furlough program have worried investors who believe the BoE may choose to raise interest rates sooner than necessary, risking economic recovery.

Other firms and financial analysts are less concerned as challenges are not seen as dangerous and are merely transitory. They don’t believe that the Bank will be forced into a dangerously fast pace of tightening.

What to watch

A key indicator to watch is the UK's labour market as unemployment is expected to increase in October since the government's job support scheme ended on the 30th of September and furloughed staff might not be able to return to their old jobs. The furlough scheme which started in March 2020, supported 11.6 million jobs across the UK and government figures suggest that around a million people were still on furlough when it ended.

If unemployment is lower than expectations, the consensus is that the Bank could move towards a rate hike as a strong labour market will increase the potential for wage rises which push inflation higher.

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.

 

The pound is expected to stabilise and rise further according to analysts as investor sentiment is strengthened and the Bank of England is moving toward tightening its policy next year.

The pound stabilised against the euro but remains to be seen how well it will perform against the dollar as Friday’s jobs report will determine the outcome.

Pound is in recovery mode now

The pound dropped last week after concerned investors sold Sterling against the euro and the US dollar fearing higher inflation following the global energy crisis. Higher gas prices and panic-buying at petrol stations due to a shortage of lorry drivers, signalled weakening economic growth and hurt market sentiment. By the beginning of the new month, however, Sterling managed to recover, as analysts noted that perhaps the currency overreacted to the fuel crisis in the UK.

The pound rose, leaving behind last week’s losses boosted by Thursday’s release of UK GDP data that showed the economy grew more than expected in the second quarter. This will also offer more evidence that the economy is growing, and the Bank of England is on track to raise interest rates in early 2022.

Sterling is a good buy

Analysts believe that due to its long-term undervaluation, the pound is an attractive investment. In general, economists believe that economic growth will continue, and the economy will return to its pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2022, earlier than anticipated.

Many currency strategists believe that the pound will also strengthen against other major G10 currencies in the short term and even for longer against the euro. The Bank’s earlier raising of interest rates and policy tightening will prove to be fundamental to the British currency’s performance.

If investors find the currency appealing due to its rate, then this will offer further support to the currency. However, global developments that could influence the pound remain a constant risk for Sterling. As we have noted in the past, the pound is sensitive to global economic sentiment and tends to depreciate when global stock markets fall. With concerns about global economic growth weakening and inflation rising, it is not unsurprising if the pound reacts with more volatility.

Higher inflation remains a constant risk for the pound

Economists said that higher inflation in major economies will lead to the gradual depreciation of those countries’ currencies. For example, the US and the UK, along with Canada and Australia are at risk of prolonged higher inflation, which might weaken their currencies compared to other countries in Asia or Europe where inflation remains within normal levels. Talking on Tuesday during an interview, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said that inflationary pressures will subside as supply increases. He stated: “What you are seeing is demand, growing demand sucking in gas from Russia or wherever, you are seeing demand for lorry drivers globally and that has an inflationary effect and as that clears, as supply meets demand then inflation abates."

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.

  • Universal Partners FX listed in prestigious list that previously identified brands including Revolut, Deliveroo, HelloFresh and Bulb
  • 2021 list reflective of post-pandemic world with at-home care service, digital wills and petcare app all in top ten
  • Startups on this year’s list have raised over £951 million in finance and over £696 million in revenue

The UK’s longest running index of disruptive new startups, the Startups 100, has released its 2021 lineup and Universal Partners FX has made the list.

Run by the UK’s most established website for entrepreneurs, Startups.co.uk, the Startups 100 offers a showcase of new businesses that demonstrate innovation, solid financials, economic impact, and the ability to scale. The list has previously identified brands including Revolut, Deliveroo, HelloFresh and Bulb.

Included for a second consecutive year, Universal Partners FX have continued to help businesses manage their FX risk through an extremely difficult period. By offering a more in-depth service than what is available at banks and some other brokers, they are able to tailor their strategies to each business within their base. The result is that businesses that have faced huge hits to their bottom-line were able to navigate through the worst phases of the pandemic, ensuring that fluctuating exchange rates did not add further strain on their business. In doing so, Universal Partners FX achieved record-breaking growth which finalised their transition from start-up to disrupter.

Read more here.

Managing Editor of Startups.co.uk, Richard Parris, comments: “After a particularly difficult year for businesses we are happier than ever to celebrate UK success stories. Every year the Startups 100 shows how UK businesses are responding to the issues, concerns and trends of the time. Entrepreneurs solve problems - whether that is the home care crisis being tackled by businesses like Cera and Birdie, diversity in hiring being challenged by Multiverse or the recent pet boom being capitalised on by Vet AI - you can see UK businesses innovating to meet the challenges of the time - and being very successful whilst doing it!”

About the Startups 100

Entering the Startups 100 is completely free. Established in 2008, the Startups 100 index identifies privately-owned UK companies launched in the last 5 years that demonstrate innovation, solid financials, economic impact and the ability to scale. 

As the longest running index of its kind, the prestigious Startups 100 is industry-renowned for uncovering businesses that will go on to become major brands, and even household names. It boasts alumni companies including Revolut, eve Sleep, HelloFresh, Purplebricks, LendInvest, Deliveroo, Bulb, and many more acclaimed businesses.

 

The pound could rise against the euro due to the Bank of England’s optimistic stance as interest rates are now expected to rise earlier than previously anticipated. The pound was also pushed higher as traders looking for a good offer bought a cheaper pound. According to analysts, the pound could reach new highs by the end of this year.

Bank of England and Rate hike

While last week, the pound fell due to inflationary concerns, over the weekend it was higher. With limited economic data the week ahead, the pound will be likely influenced by more news on the fuel crisis, but analysts expect it to remain supported on BoE’s interest rate prospects. The Office for National Statistics has also upgraded its second quarter GDP growth forecast from 4.8% to 5.4%. With the Monetary Policy Committee of the BoE expected to raise the bank rate to 0.25% in May and one more time in 12 months, markets are optimistic.

In a speech that was given to the Society of Professional Economists annual dinner, the Governor of the Bank of England said: “All of us believe that there will need to be some modest tightening of policy to be consistent with meeting the inflation target sustainably over the medium term. Recent evidence appears to have strengthened that case, but there remain substantial uncertainties and we are monitoring the situation closely. The BoE policymakers would need to see clear evidence that the labour market is thriving and employment activity is back to normal levels before taking any action.

Labour market possible scenarios

The BoE governor in his speech, outlined three potential scenarios for the labour market, highlighting the uncertainties ahead, as each of these could influence growth, inflation and monetary policy in different ways. The first scenario revolves around the furlough scheme and how after the furloughed workers return to their old jobs, we are still left with an excess of job vacancies. If these vacancies are linked with shortages of workers in particular sectors, this could push wages higher. This situation could raise the rate of unemployment consistent with stable wage growth. In a second scenario, where demand rises over time, vacancies and unemployment could fall. In the third possible explanation, advertised vacancies could be higher, but some of these could turn out not to be jobs as employers change their mind or postpone hiring.

Tightening monetary policy and bank rate

Governor Bailey has characteristically said that despite uncertainty, the stimulus program will need to unwind, and this will be coupled with an increase in the bank rate. He said: “For most members of the MPC, the outlook for the labour market – as I described earlier – is highly uncertain and to some degree likely to be resolved in fairly short order, and this justified a wait and see approach on policy in view of the continuing belief that higher inflation will be temporary. Within this view, some members put more emphasis on the continuing shortfall in the level of GDP relative to pre-Covid, while others emphasised the continuing direction of travel towards closing that gap and the evidence of cost pressures accompanying the closing. But all of this group were of the view that the stimulus to monetary policy enacted in response to Covid would need to start to unwind at some point, that unwind should be enacted by an increase in Bank Rate, and if appropriate would not need to wait for the end of the current asset purchase programme.”

This means that the Bank is expected to normalise its policy in early 2022 which could support the pound. Analysts view the pound’s recent weakness as temporary and expect it to strengthen in the long-term.

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.

 

Sending money overseas has never been this easy. With banks striving to keep up-to-date as the financial markets change rapidly, currency brokers and money transfer companies dominate the industry. If you want to send money overseas, then look no further than expert currency transfer and foreign exchange broker Universal Partners FX.  UPFX has streamlined international payments and has made it so much easier for everyone to send money overseas. Currency brokers, for example, do not charge any fees when transferring your funds and they also provide a much better exchange rate than your bank.  So how does money transfer work?

How to start

First, you will need to open an account with an international money transfer firm and once you do so they will get in touch to discuss the transfer, walk you through the process, explain the exchange rates and any other necessary information you’ll need to approve before proceeding. You will then be able to book the transaction, providing details of the recipient’s account and pay the agreed amount, via an electronic transfer from your UK bank account.

When to expect the money to arrive?

The process is simple and straightforward and should not take longer than two working days. Some transfers depending on the currency and exchange rates can be executed instantly within seconds. It is common that major currency pairs or strong currencies will be transferred faster than weaker ones.  

Transferring money overseas

One of the safest, most secure and fastest ways to transfer your money internationally is by using an international money transfer firm. UPFX has consistently executed trades by offering competitive rates to all clients with low fees. Online money transfers are the most popular method for transferring funds overseas.

Exchange Rate: What is it?

An exchange rate tells you how much one currency is worth in relation to another currency. The general rule is that the higher the exchange rate, the more money you will receive when you trade. The exchange rate is not something stable and changes all the time depending on market news, the political situation in that country’s currency and other events that could cause volatility in the foreign exchange market. The foreign exchange market or, simply, forex, is considered the most liquid financial market and is very volatile. Because trillions of dollars are being exchanged, it is easy to buy and sell currencies. In 2019, the daily volume of the forex market reached $6.6 trillion! So, this is why the market is big, competitive and why many people decide to trade as a hobby with the potential to make a profit. While it provides plenty of trading opportunities, the forex market is also risky, that is why registering with a leading money transfer firm such as UPFX will save you time, money and lots of stress. If your business for example has regular transfers or requires a more nuanced currency strategy and risk management, then UPFX will provide you with a plan and a solution to suit your specific requirements.

Trading internationally? Save money with Universal Partners FX

If you are making international money transfers, you will need a cost-effective and secure way to do so. Universal Partners FX is the right partner for your foreign exchange. With UPFX, you can open a multi-currency account, send and receive money worldwide with low and transparent fees. You can also manage your money and send international payments 24/7 through UPFX’s easy-to-use online platform powered by Currency Cloud.

If you are an exporter or plan to start your international business, get in touch now with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers.

 

 

The pound fell and remains vulnerable to global growth concerns and the ongoing fuel crisis in the UK as analysts fear of a difficult winter ahead. The fuel crisis has sparked concerns that growth will slow down, while rising inflation will aggravate problems. The panic buying of petrol was the result of fears regarding supply chain issues as the UK is struggling to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.  

150 soldiers prepared to drive tankers

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said that military tanker drivers are ready to help with the fuel crisis and transport petrol to stations, as 150 soldiers will be driving tankers within a few days. Despite calls to motorists to stop panic-buying at petrol stations, queues have continued. Kwarteng admitted that the last few days have been difficult, with large queues, but the situation is stabilising and that with soldiers driving the tanker fleet and getting petrol into the forecourts, things will return back to normal soon. In regard to issues in the run-up to Christmas, where people are busier, Kwarteng explained that it was difficult to make any predictions, but, nonetheless, he reiterated that the “situation is stabilising.”

The fuel crisis has generated more concerns about who will have priority access and many unions have requested that doctors, nurses and other essential workers to be given priority access to fuel. The Prime Minister has resisted this. The worst shortages have been experienced in London and English cities with fights and, in one incident in south London, a driver pulling a knife.

The supply chain issue and the shortage of lorry drivers is linked to Brexit and the government has said that it will deal with the driver shortage by providing temporary visas to 5,000 foreign drivers.

Bank of England to raise interest rates

The Bank of England will be forced to raise interest rates to fight inflation. Markets are concerned about the Bank having to tighten its policy against a weak background, with analysts describing it as a “stagflation story.”

The UK is especially vulnerable as it appears to be the hardest hit by the energy and supply chain crisis. The energy crisis is affecting economic activity, while the rising gas prices are a real issue for the currency. With the ongoing energy crisis, the pound will remain under pressure, and once it clears it will be able to stabilise. The gas price surge is also a global phenomenon as Asian countries are also competing for the same supplies. Growing fears of an energy shortage in China have led to Sinopec, an LNG importer, to outbid European competitors.

Traders and analysts are now focusing on the fuel crisis as they are worried about how the UK economy will fare and whether the current crisis is temporary or will last longer.

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.

 

The pound was stronger yesterday but dropped slightly today following the fuel crisis. The government has the army on standby to help ease fuel supply problems following days of long queues, panic-buying and pump closures. Analysts warn that this will only offer temporary relief, and that the UK needs to do more to more find a more long-term and viable solution to its current HGV driver shortage.

Analysts have noted their concerns about the impact of fuel shortages on everyday life, soaring energy prices and labour shortages which could eventually dent the UK’s economic recovery.

Petrol supply

Fears of driver shortage hitting fuel supply has led to a surge in demand with up to 150 military tanker drivers ready to deliver to petrol stations which have run dry because of panic buying. There is no shortage of fuel, but simply a shortage of fuel in petrol stations, due to a lack of lorry drivers. While this was expected to have minimal effects, the problem has been exacerbated due to the behaviour of motorists who have rushed to stations panic-buying fuel. The transport secretary Grant Shapps said there were "tentative signs" of stabilisation in petrol stations and the Petrol Retailers Association said that the number of motorists at petrol stations was beginning to calm. As Shapps noted, "Once we all return to our normal buying habits... the quicker we get back to normality." The UK is short of more than 100,000 lorry drivers which has affected many industries, especially food suppliers and supermarkets.

In a joint statement, fuel companies, including BP and Shell, have reassured the public that supplies have not been affected and that demand will return to normal levels.

Higher Inflation Could Help the Pound Rise Higher

In the meantime, the pound is expected to rise as inflation pushes higher and the BoE is forced to raise interest rates. Higher inflation is the result of a combination of factors, including supply shortages and shortages of HGV drivers. While the central bank has stated that inflation is only temporary, there are concerns that it will remain high for a longer period of time.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has expressed his concerns about the current issues with supplies that have pushed inflation higher, and he noted that the Bank is ready to act if this becomes a long-term issue. He said that higher inflation can be dealt with higher interest rates and that a rate rise before the end of this year is not impossible.

The rising energy prices that have pushed inflation higher are a major concern in the UK, and the question is whether more persistent inflation than expected will prove to be the case and how the Bank of England will change its monetary policy to respond to this. The Bank of England last week warned that their forecast for high inflation at 4.0% will be exceeded. In August, the Bank raised their peak forecast from 3.0% to 4.0%.

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.

 

The UK’s supply problems could push the pound lower despite that the market has priced in more interest rate hikes by the Bank of England for next year. The government has offered temporary visas to fuel tanker and food lorry drivers, and to poultry workers. Britain's ongoing supply chain crisis could threaten the UK’s economic recovery, and combined with higher inflation, it could post serious risks to the pound.

Visas to lorry drivers

With Christmas just around the corner, the government is seeking to avoid disruption and will provide up to 10,500 lorry drivers and poultry workers with temporary UK visas. 5,500 poultry workers and another 5,000 fuel tanker and food lorry drivers will be allowed to work in the UK for three months, until Christmas Eve. The Road Haulage Association said the government’s announcement "barely scratches the surface", and that just offering temporary visa for a limited period "will not be enough for companies or the drivers themselves to be attractive." Director of the HGV Recruitment Centre, Marc Fels, said visas for lorry drivers were "too little" and "too late." The move is, however, a huge step forward in providing a temporary solution to supply chain disruption. The government has also requested from the Ministry of Defence examiners to increase HGV (heavy goods vehicle) testing capacity and sent one million letters to drivers who have an HGV licence to return to the industry. 

Various industries such as supermarkets and food chains have reported shortages of lorry drivers, while fuel deliveries have also been affected, with queues at petrol stations as consumers are panic buying despite calls from the government that the UK has plenty of fuel.

Petrol Crisis

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has stated there was enough fuel and that people should only fill up when needed to avoid creating shortages. He said there were no supply problems at the six refineries and 47 storage facilities, and that drivers and motorists needed to “be sensible.” With the petrol crisis deepening, ministers have been forced to suspend competition law to help oil companies support petrol stations that are running dry, after days of panic buying. Following a meeting with oil companies on Sunday, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng agreed to allow companies in the oil industry to work together, sharing information to keep petrol stations topped up.

The panic buying and shortage of drivers has also led the government to consider an emergency plan. The prime minister and senior members of the cabinet will examine “Operation Escalin” after BP reported that a third of its petrol stations had run out of the two grades of fuel, and the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), said that 50% to 90% of its members were also running out, with more to follow.

Operation Escalin was first conceptualised as part of the planning for a no-deal Brexit, and involves  hundreds of soldiers being drafted in to drive a reserve fleet of 80 tankers. The Prime Minister will consider the Escalin and other proposals on Monday afternoon, in a meeting where ministers will also discuss ways to stop people from panic buying. Shortages could continue if people’s behaviour did not change.

The UK could also face a national shortage of turkeys in the run-up to December, with labour shortages due to Brexit.

 

If you are a business transferring funds overseas, contacting a currency specialist could save you time and money. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their dedicated team to discuss the latest market movements ahead of your currency exchange. If you are transferring funds to pay your employees abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX to find out how much you can save in your international money transfers. Universal Partners FX can provide invaluable help on efficient risk management and tailored solutions to your business’ transfer needs.