With more businesses opening slowly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impending Brexit transition period ending on 31 December, an increasing number of Brits are looking to buy property in France. Many Brits want to secure a French property before Brexit, while others have chosen France for their holiday home, as they can drive there by car or reach it by ferry.

In The Connexion, an estate agent highlighted the rising demand for French homes by Brits, saying that “the phones have not stopped ringing’” as Britons are interested in buying a home in France before the end of the Brexit transition period.

Staycations

In an article in The Times, interest in staycations has now become the norm, especially after Covid-19 where travellers avoid airports. But, the meaning of a staycation need not be limited to spending vacations on British soil. Brits remain interested in buying a home abroad, but they are now choosing locations that they can reach by car. Director of French estate agency Leggett Immobilier, Joanna Leggett, notes that “We have seen a 42% rise since this time last year in enquiries from the British for properties that they can drive to.” “If you can get in your car, go through the Channel Tunnel and be in your house without having to see anyone except passport control, that’s actually a really good option for people now,” she said.

Brexit and buying a house in France

The number of British people moving to EU countries has remarkably grown since the 2016 Brexit referendum. With the UK expected to leave the single market after January 1, 2021, and any British arrival to France after that date to be regarded as outside the European Union, many Brits have begun looking for their holiday homes in France. This has helped increase property sales and may also result in France overtaking Spain as the number 1 destination for Brits moving abroad.

As Joanna Leggett said, this has had a positive effect on the property market: "Our sales to Brits at the beginning of the year were up 38% [year-on-year] until March, 85% of them were for main homes.  Our website hits are up 87% for the English-language version of our site and enquiries on properties are going completely mad.  We have so many Brits with reserved bookings coming from July, we expect the next three months to be our busiest ever." She also remarked: “I think the mad panic does seem to be that the British want to get here and they want to find their property and to be in it to qualify for the residency that we get at the moment.” She added that the period between July and September will be the busiest as restrictions might ease for travelling. “We have said that it does take three to four months for a sale to complete, so if people do want to be in their house they need to have made an offer by the end of September to be able to complete by December,” she said.

What happens after Brexit?

While the negotiations are still ongoing and there are many issues still to be resolved, one thing that is certain is that Brits will still be eligible to buy and rent out homes in France, as well as stay in France for 90 out of 180 days without the need of a visa.

If they move to France before the end of the transition period, it is expected that their rights will be the same as now, including their residency status, healthcare and uprating their UK state pensions.

According to estate agents Leggett Immobilier, Brits will “still be able to move here [after the transition period], there may be a little more paperwork than would previously have been required.”

Currency Exchange

If you are buying a holiday home in France, it is important to consult a specialist foreign exchange company such as Universal Partners FX right from the start. UPFX can help you manage currency fluctuations by fixing the rate, as the final price of your home could vary significantly from the time you made your offer.

When moving large amounts of cash, it is best to get in touch with UPFX’s currency specialists where they can offer you competitive exchange rates and the best value for your money. Find out what your money is worth by giving them a call or requesting a free quote.

The pound has regained its momentum since yesterday, after the positive news of new US Federal Reserve stimulus and the latest post-Brexit trade talks between the EU and the UK.

Sterling rose after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that there is a "very good chance" a trade deal will be made with the EU. Both Johnson and the EU Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen agreed that there will not be an extension to the Brexit transition period, which will end on 31 December 2020. The pressure is now on both sides to agree on a post-Brexit trade deal, so the UK does not leave the bloc without a deal. If the UK leaves the bloc without a deal, then Britain will revert to World Trade Organisation terms, which will mean that the UK would have to pay high tariffs and quotas at a time when the country’s economy is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fresh Momentum injected into the negotiations

According to Reuters, the hour-long video call on Monday between Johnson and the EU Commission’s von Der Leyen, “has injected fresh momentum” into the negotiations, as “people on both sides with knowledge of the conversation,” attested. The “EU inferred from Johnson’s contributions that he is willing to soften his position and European officials told him they are ready to do the same.” After the call, Johnson said: “I don’t think we are actually that far apart -- what we need to see now is a bit of oomph in the negotiations. The faster we can do this the better: we see no reason why you shouldn’t get that done in July.”

Obstacles Remain

Johnson’s latest communication with the EU comes after three months of trade talks which have ended in deadlock. However, things might not be completely resolved just yet, as EU Council President Charles Michel warned that the EU will not “buy a pig in a poke” as it was not in any hurry to reach an agreement. He said: “We won’t just speed up. We have to remain focused on content and consequences.” While the UK has been pushing to speed up the discussions, the EU wants to make reasonable steps, with the next discussions to resume on 29 June. Johnson explained that he is against the talks “going on until the autumn, winter, as perhaps some in Brussels would like.”

Both sides have failed to reach an agreement on a free-trade deal as well as find common ground when it comes to certain EU standards and demands regarding fishing rights and security which the UK believes are binding it to EU rules. Also, the UK continues to refuse to accept the power of the European Court of Justice to settle any disagreements between the two sides.

Pound Remains Unpredictable

With Brexit negotiations in the background, Paul Meggyesi, Head of FX Research at JP Morgan noted that the pound’s trajectory would remain unpredictable. He said: “GBP is liable to become ever-more idiosyncratic as the UK nears the business end of the entire Brexit process, the last six months of the transition period, with still a trade deal to be negotiated. This puts GBP at the mercy of unpredictable Brexit news flows, and investors should be prepared for potentially quite violent swings in GBP as the market tries to benchmark probabilities of the potential outcomes and eventually moves from valuing GBP on a probability-weighted basis to pricing a central scenario and then the eventual outcome itself.”

If you are sending money abroad and are worried about the pound’s volatility, please get in touch with Universal Partners FX. UPFX’s dedicated foreign exchange specialists can help you access the most competitive exchange rates and make your currency transfers stress-free.

On Wednesday (03/06/20), the Euro was up against the US dollar, marking its seventh consecutive day and the “longest winning streak since December 2013.” The euro’s surge is the result of investors moving away from the US dollar as well as news that the European Commission will be helping the Eurozone economy with a 750 billion euro ($826.5 billion) fund to ease the damage from the pandemic.

The Euro had a roller coaster ride the last few years. Recently, due to slower economic growth, the Euro has dropped, but there have been signs of increase as the Covid-19 pandemic hit financial markets and investors turned towards the safety of government bonds. But soon it fell again, as investors turned to safe-haven assets such as the US dollar. Since mid-March, the euro has been at its highest after the significant decrease of new coronavirus cases in the EU.

With the continued uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the Euro will remain sensitive. But let’s see what the main drivers of the euro in the coming months are.

Key Drivers of the Euro

Apart from the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit updates, the Euro is sensitive to releases of macroeconomic data including GDP, unemployment rates, manufacturing and services output and consumer price indices which measure the Eurozone economy’s health. Significant events such as meetings of the European Central Bank (ECB) and updates regarding policy on interest rates and fiscal stimulus, can also impact on the single currency. For example, low interest rates are unattractive to investors.

If the US Dollar rises, as the US economy strengthens and interest rates are increased by the Federal Reserve, then this will weigh on the Euro. There are also dangers from weaker global growth and a slowing of the EU member states’ economies, especially the German economy.

Last but not least, if the Chinese economy slows and China’s trade is reduced, then there will be less demand for European imports.

European Commission forecast for the Eurozone economy

In its Spring 2020 Economic Forecast, the European Commission reported that the coronavirus pandemic will have “very severe socio-economic consequences” for the global and EU economies. It has forecast that “the euro area economy will contract by a record 7¾% in 2020 and grow by 6¼% in 2021. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 7½% in 2020 and grow by around 6% in 2021. Growth projections for the EU and euro area have been revised down by around nine percentage points compared to the Autumn 2019 Economic Forecast.”

Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for the Economy, said: “Europe is experiencing an economic shock without precedent since the Great Depression. Both the depth of the recession and the strength of recovery will be uneven, conditioned by the speed at which lockdowns can be lifted, the importance of services like tourism in each economy and by each country's financial resources. Such divergence poses a threat to the single market and the euro area - yet it can be mitigated through decisive, joint European action. We must rise to this challenge.”

Economists’ Predictions in the near- and long-term

According to Citibank, “Second waves of crisis, trade wars and the ECB’s future reaction will likely keep EUR soft near term and upside capped medium term despite a lot of bad news in the price.”

In the long-term, analysts at CIBC expect the Euro to rise: “While euro sentiment remains compromised by the lack of political coherence, we’ve seen the ECB taking action by expanding its balance sheet. However, that move has been dwarfed by the additional supply of USD currently being injected into the market, which remains supportive for the EUR/USD pair.” They added that positive fund flows as a result of the Eurozone current account surplus will benefit the euro, despite political uncertainty.

Natixis Research expects Eurozone inflation to return in 2021 due to the “decline in productivity and the increase in unit production costs due to the new health standards taken because of the coronavirus pandemic.” In turn, the increase in inflation will lead to a rise in long-term interest rates which will support the euro.

If you are considering buying or selling euros, get in touch with expert currency specialists Universal Partners FX. UPFX’s friendly and dedicated foreign exchange team is available to guide you through the current volatile market and help you transfer your funds safely and fast, while providing access to the most competitive exchange rates in the market. Give them a call today to find out how much you can save on your international money transfers.

The British Pound has fallen against its major peers as investors believe that the trade negotiations between the EU and UK will collapse and result in a no deal Brexit.

David Frost, the UK's chief negotiator, said to Parliament’s Brexit committee that the EU needed to change its position in order to reach an agreement that suits both sides. He told committee chairman Hilary Benn: “It’s their call.”

He also reminded MPs that the government did not intend to extend the transition period. As a result, the pound dropped, with the chances of a soft Brexit now looking increasingly slim. Frost said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be meeting in June with leaders in Brussels to try and push trade negotiations along.

Reiterating the rhetoric of hard Brexiters, Frost said that the EU was still grappling with the issue of Brexit: "The EU is still coming to terms with the fact that there's a large country in Europe that doesn't want to be part of the EU's structure in some way, or to work on EU norms, or to relate to the EU as the reference point of its activity.” However, as a Financial Times article put it, it is Brexiters who “still do not understand Europe,” arguing that the UK is “owed” privileged access and that Europeans are treating them “beastly.”

Pound to react to no-deal Brexit

Erik Norland, Executive Director and Senior Economist of CME Group, said that the pound fell against both the Euro and the US Dollar as the two sides reached an impasse regarding the “lack of progress on issues ranging from fishing rights to business-competition regulations." Norland highlighted the pound’s volatility in regards to Brexit:

"Since the referendum, GBP has tended to rally when it looked like a deal was close (+21% versus USD into early 2018 as then Prime Minister Theresa May held negotiations) and tended to sell off when Brexit appears to be headed towards the “no-deal” scenario (-16% when May’s deal was repeatedly defeated)."

He clarified that as we move into the next round of negotiations, GBP options markets are more tilted to the downside. He added: "Moreover, most of the recent spikes in both implied volatility and risk reversal have been motivated by concerns over the progress of Brexit negotiations. The one exception occurred during an incipient dollar-funding crisis in mid-March. After the U.S. Federal Reserve stepped in, that issued was resolved quickly.”

Brexit

As economists attest, the British currency’s volatility will continue and is expected to remain reactive to Brexit headlines, especially through June when the deadline for the UK and the EU to agree to extend the Brexit talks is due. The markets will react favourably to an extension, while the possibility of an impasse and no extension to the December transition deadline will lead to a drop in the pound.

The pound is also expected to react to next week’s final round of negotiations.

As we move closer to Brexit deadlines and Brexit-related news, the pound will continue to be sensitive. If you are worried about currency exchange and the value of the pound when transferring your hard-earned money overseas, get in touch with Universal Partners and their dedicated foreign exchange specialists. You can discuss your currency needs, get the best exchange rates and navigate the uncertainty that lies ahead. Do not let Brexit impact your currency transfers, maximise your currency potential with UPFX.

Brexit has been instrumental in the pound’s trajectory, responsible for its collapse and slow recovery. The coronavirus pandemic comes to add more pressure to the pound due to the lockdown measures and the ensuing adverse economic effects.

In the short term, as the UK grapples with the threat of Brexit and the coronavirus, the outlook looks extremely negative. But, how will the pound fair in the long term?

What’s happening now?

Sterling has been hit by Brexit and the coronavirus crisis, with the latter making its effects on the British currency very clear in mid-March, when the GBP plunged to levels not seen in 35 years with anxious traders turning towards safe havens such as the greenback. Until the pandemic is over, analysts predict that the pound will continue to be weak. At the moment, Sterling will remain reactive to headlines concerning the pandemic which has triggered the deepest decline in economic activity since 1929.

Indeed, things have changed a lot since last December when traders felt optimistic about Boris Johnson’s decisive victory in the general election, with many expecting significant progress in the Brexit talks and positive economic data.

Now, with the transition period due to expire at the end of the year and the government saying that it will not ask for an extension, the reality looks different, with the possibility of leaving without a deal posing a real threat to the pound’s future. This means that the UK could fall into a recession as economists have warned.

Short-term predictions

Georgette Boele, Senior FX Strategist at ABN AMRO has said: "In the near-term we expect another wave of risk-off in financial markets as markets are in our opinion too optimistic currently on the speed and strength of economic recovery." Boele added: “There is an enormous gap between the economic reality and what analysts forecast, on the one hand, and the optimism among investors for the second half of this year, on the other. This should support the U.S. Dollar as most liquid safe haven currency."

Long-term predictions

Following Brexit, the forecast for the pound has been dire.  As Brexit troubles are not over yet, and as the coronavirus continues to inject fear in investors, the long-term outlook for the pound is definitely bearish.

Since the June Brexit referendum, consumers have underpinned Britain’s economic expansion as businesses stopped investing. Despite the fall in the pound, consumer spending has grown since the vote, and with many businesses now closed due to the coronavirus, understandably, there are concerns for an economy so reliant on consumption.

With the economy hurt due to lockdown restrictions and a lack of exit strategy, the pound will be under pressure for the long term.

GBP: Investors turn bearish

In the Financial Times article “Investors turn bearish on the pound,” Philip Georgiadis writes that investors are anticipating further falls for the pound and have “increased their bets against the UK pound to the highest level of the year, raising the spectre of a new bout of volatility for the currency.” According to the article, “fund managers and other companies betting in the futures market have turned bearish as concerns over Brexit rise in parallel with the damage the coronavirus pandemic is causing the UK economy.”

Similarly pessimistic is Rabobank which says: “Additionally, insofar as no real progress was made on the last round of post-Brexit talks between the UK and the EU and given that the summer deadline for any request for an extension to the transition phase is looming, it is difficult to be optimistic on GBP.”

Analysts at Danske Bank also find that in the coming months the pound will remain under pressure as “Time spent fighting the coronavirus by both the UK and the EU means less time to negotiate a deal before the end of the year, increasing the risk of a big trade shock by 1 January 2021.”

While overly optimistic valuations might fall to meet reality and as such drive the pound lower, there is also the possibility of the British currency strengthening as the global outlook improves. Sterling’s weakness due to global uncertainty could be reversed as nations successfully fight the virus and recover.

What is certain, is that there are no certainties and the pound could easily come under pressure as optimism withers.

How UPFX can help

If you have a Sterling transfer, wish to better understand the market outlook or want to discuss your FX needs with a foreign exchange currency specialist, please get in touch with Universal Partners FX.

With UPFX you can save money on your international currency transfers, access competitive exchange rates and a dedicated customer service.

British businesses conducting international trade and transferring their funds cross border regularly are increasingly worried about Brexit and the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Boris Johnson has been warned that the current trade talks are failing and that he needs to press the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and EU governments to focus their attention on the negotiations in order to reach an agreement with the British government.

The prime minister has returned to Downing Street on Monday, and he needs to act fast in order to rescue the negotiations before 31 December when the UK will leave the single market and customs union. Both the British government and the EU have agreed that they need to see progress by June, while the UK government has said that there is a possibility to leave the EU without a deal.

The two sides will be meeting again on 30 April. The UK’s chief negotiator David Frost has rejected an extension of the transition period as the government is confident that it can agree on a free-trade deal.

The prospect of no-deal Brexit

However, the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal has become even more real as there are only two rounds of video-conference talks left, while senior figures from both sides agree that delivering a deal is now highly unlikely. An EU official has also noted the added problems of having to communicate online: “You don’t see all the faces of the people around the table; you don’t see the body language, you cannot have discussion in the margins. But having said that, this is how we are working now; we need to make the best of it.”

Last week’s talks have not been progressing successfully either, as there was disagreement between the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his British counterpart, David Frost. Barnier pointed out that UK officials failed to engage and instead “listened politely” to the EU’s proposals. As he said: “I regret it, and this worries me.” According to the UK, despite their commitments to maintain high standards, the EU rejected proposals regarding the removal of certain trade barriers. Additionally, the UK disagrees with the central role that the European court of justice will play in dispute settlements.

In regards to the issue of Northern Ireland, there are concerns whether the UK will implement the Northern Ireland protocol  in the withdrawal agreement in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland and maintain checks on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland. An EU official said: “You need to have customs checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland, veterinary controls, a VAT system needs to be put in place.”

UK government not seeking an extension

The UK government has warned EU leaders that they need to change their position if there is going to be a post-Brexit trade deal. The PM believes that there will not be an agreement unless the EU recognises the UK as “an independent state.”

Michael Gove, Cabinet Office minister, has also told MPs that the government will not seek an extension to the transition period, which ends on December 31. He said that extending the period will only force Britain to make a financial contribution to the EU budget which “could be spent on our NHS.” He added that the EU has failed to recognise the UK’s unique status and instead has treated Britain “like the Ukraine,” as if it were a country seeking closer relations with the bloc.

 

If you are a business transferring funds across Europe and are worried about your payments, protecting your funds due to unexpected currency movements and securing the best exchange rates, get in touch with Universal Partners FX. UPFX’s currency specialists will help you navigate the market and can secure the most competitive exchange rates. Give them a call today or get a free quote.

With the coronavirus continuing to affect the UK economy and the issue of securing a Brexit trade deal persisting, the British Pound is forecast to struggle, with investors’ growing increasingly anxious.

While worries about the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed Brexit temporarily, political concerns return as the government has highlighted its reluctance for a Brexit extension.

Brexit: No extension

With the transition period due to end on 31 December and with only three rounds of trade talks remaining, the UK would need to negotiate a trade deal by December 2020, especially when the government says that an extension would only "prolong the delay and uncertainty" around Brexit.

David Frost, the UK's chief negotiator and Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator, after their Wednesday meeting via video conference, agreed on three weeks of talks beginning on 20 April, 11 May and 1 June. In a joint statement, they recognised that their work has helped to "identify all major areas of divergence and convergence", but further negotiations were needed "to make real, tangible progress in the negotiations by June."

But the UK government has clarified that no extension would be asked from the EU, despite recent calls by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva to extend the period for negotiations and not "add to uncertainty" as a result of the coronavirus.

However, the prime minister's official spokesman said: “We will not ask to extend the transition period, and if the EU asks we will say 'no.' Extending the transition would simply prolong the negotiations, prolong business uncertainty and delay the moment of control of our borders. It would also keep us bound by EU legislation at a point when we need legislative and economic flexibility to manage the U.K. response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

David Frost has also similarly clarified the government’s intentions: “Extending would simply prolong negotiations, create even more uncertainty, leave us liable to pay more to the EU in future, and keep us bound by evolving EU laws at a time when we need to control our own affairs. In short, it is not in the UK's interest to extend."

The Prime Minister’s confidence in striking a satisfactory trade deal by the end of the year has been criticised by the opposition, with Liberal Democrat Sir Ed Davey saying that the refusal to extend the transition was "deeply irresponsible."

Concerns have also been voiced by the financial world. Economists and strategists have warned about the risks for the pound and have noted that uncertainty typically has driven investors to sell the pound against every other currency. Analyst at Thomson Reuters Richard Pace noted: “GBP dealers should fear July 1, when it will be too late to extend the Brexit transition past Dec. 31, 2020, and GBP would rightly suffer. The UK government has been vehement about not asking for an extension, and the UK parliament won't be able to force one this time, since Prime Minister Boris Johnson's huge Conservative majority will back his decision."

“Tough Times” for UK economy

It is not only the current uncertainty with Brexit, but also the coronavirus’ effects that will deeply hurt the pound and the economy. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that the coronavirus will have "serious implications" for the UK economy, as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is expecting that the virus will shrink the economy by 35% by June. Sunak said that the government needed to be honest and that the OBR’s figures suggest that the UK is facing “tough times, and there will be more to come.”

While the government is "not just going to stand by" and will try to protect “millions of jobs, businesses, self-employed people, charities, and households," the effects of the lockdown cannot be minimised.

Robert Chote, the chairman of the OBR, said that a three-month lockdown followed by another three months of partial restrictions would see the economy declining sharply, a drop that would be the biggest "in living memory."

The International Monetary Fund has also warned that the virus would cause the UK economy to shrink by 6.5% in 2020, and the global economy to contract by 3%.

If you are concerned about the status of your finances in these difficult times and are considering transferring your funds abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX. UPFX’s expert foreign exchange specialists will help maximise your purchasing power by offering competitive exchange rates and in-depth knowledge of the markets. Find out how much they can save you, by getting a free quote today.

After over three and a half years of talking, fighting, delays and fearmongering, Brexit is going to happen on 31st January.

This is a cause for celebration for some, but for others it represents the start of great uncertainty – or worse still – the start of decades of decline for the UK. This may come down to the deal that we agree, or if there is a deal at all.

Which way it goes will still be debated and argued over the years to come, but what will happen after 31st January when Brexit is confirmed?

The Brexit deal

Firstly, let’s take a look at the key points of the deal itself. Currently being examined by the House of Lords, the main issues involve travel, money, health, the rights of citizens and of course, trade. The policies set out in the deal will potentially affect currency which can then further impact such things as property prices.

The main focus of the deal is to leave the EU customs union, meaning that the UK will have the freedom to establish their own trade deals with countries around the world.

A significant sticking point was determining how Northern Ireland would be affected, with Boris Johnson eventually replacing the Irish backstop with a new agreement that will begin in December 2020, after the transition period has ended. In summary, this includes a customs declaration system for goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, as well as continued access to the UK market for businesses. Northern Ireland also have the option to vote on their continued membership in this deal four years after the transition period.

Travel

After January 31st, travel plans for UK citizens travelling to EU countries will not be affected.

ABTA, the travel industry’s trade association has said: "If Parliament ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement before 31 January 2020, which it is on track to do, the UK will enter a transition period, meaning everything will remain the same and you can continue to travel as you do now until at least the end of December 2020."

After the transition, a visa similar to the American ESTA will be introduced, expecting to cost around £6 and last for a number of years.

All transport entering the EU, including ferries and cruise ships will not be affected but there may be an additional driving permit if you wish to use your own vehicle within your UK insurance policy in the EU.

Money

Savings are not expected to be affected after Brexit due to all bank trading agreements bought from EU firms being protected by the transition period. There may a short-term gain for savers if interest rates are increased when the Conservative Budget is announced next month.

However, British retirees living abroad may have their pension payments frozen, not benefiting from the EU payment increase, which is based on either inflation, wage increases or 2.5% - whichever is highest. On top of that, those living in the EU and being paid in GBP may lose earnings if the pound falls after Brexit.Property

With house prices showing an increase from November to December last year, estate agents are optimistic that Brexit will finally end the uncertainty that had led to prices stagnating – and falling in some areas - in the UK.

Even with renewed confidence, the February Budget could affect the market, with the potential for reforms for first-time buyers. No-deal is still a slight possibility, so foreign investors will be keeping a close eye on negotiations before parting with their money.

Most estate agents say that surveys have shown that potential buyers generally have overestimated the impact of Brexit so far, and with the political climate much calmer, expect buyers who were holding back to come forward in 2020.

Rental prices are forecasted to rise, due mainly to the lack of rental options on the market.

Currency

The value of the pound can go either way, with a lot of experts claiming the volatility of the past 3 years will calm and the pound will be more stable. Since the start of negotiations, the strength of the pound has been linked to a clean break that protected business, whereas the chaos of a no-deal Brexit has sent the pound down in value. Since the general election result, the pound has rallied due to investors being more comfortable with the prospect of a strong majority Conservative government.

However, with a lot to be done by the end of the transition period – including crucial trade agreements with the EU itself – there could still be choppy waters ahead for GBP. In fact, just this week it was revealed that there are fundamental disagreements between the EU and UK that will almost certainly require more than eight months of negotiations, which formally begin in March.

Trade negotiations

The obvious reason for any difficulties in the negotiations is that the EU believe that the UK should continue to follow some of the EU regulations in order to secure a free-trade agreement. This is mainly due to EU members, including France, asking for a level playing field to be maintained. Trade-offs will likely come into play as the transition period progresses, with a report recently claiming that the UK will allow EU fleets to fish in their waters if bankers and financiers are allowed favourable access to the EU financial markets. The issue with such trade-offs is that invariably they will affect certain demographics unfavourably, which can lead to more stand-offs. With such a tight deadline any significant delays could be disastrous and can bring the no-deal prospect back into the reckoning.

If you require any guidance on your currency exchange during this crucial step of Brexit, reach out to Universal Partners FX; a specialist in delivering expert guidance and the best possible rates for those dealing with foreign currency.

Moving to Spain

Moving to a foreign country is usually a big decision that requires a lot of planning and preparation, whether it’s a long-term commitment or a short-term lifestyle choice.

For many British expats, Spain is the ultimate emigration destination, providing the perfect terminus for those seeking a change of scenery.

Whether you’re seeking a fresh start or a place to retire to, a whole host of Brits have no problem swapping the cold, damp greys for warm, cloudless blues.

If you’re one of those Brits looking to relocate to the land of the siesta, this handy guide for expats in Spain is a must-read.

Do I Need a Visa to Live in Spain?

First things first, as is the case with any international relocation, it’s important to know the legalities of moving to your country of choice and moving to Spain from the UK is no different.

For short-term visits, British expats are allowed to remain in Spain for 90 days over a period of six months; however, if you are planning on residing in Spain for longer than three months, you will need to apply for Spanish residency.

Under the Freedom of Movement Act, citizens of EU countries don’t need a visa to visit, live, work or study in Spain. Instead, EU nationals simply need to register with the authorities and get a national identity number.

However, with Brexit ominously hanging over the UK like the Sword of Damocles, those terms have become somewhat clouded, muddying the Spanish waters for Brits looking to make the journey south.

Expats in Spain After Brexit

If you are or will be an expat in Spain after Brexit, it’s important to become well acquainted with the Brexit process. The results of the negotiations are likely to have a significant impact on expats living in Spain after Brexit, so it’s wise to familiarise yourself with the latest updates.

While the exact details over Brexit and the subsequent implications are murky at best at this stage, there are a few pieces of information that have emerged with regards to Spanish travel.

If the UK severs ties with the EU without a deal, UK nationals that were officially living in Spain prior to the date the UK exits will be considered legal residents for a period of 21 months. According to gov.uk, this ruling will be enforced regardless of whether or not the British national currently holds a Spanish residency document.

Conversely, if the UK does leave the EU with a deal in place, UK nationals will be able to register as a resident in Spain under the current rules, provided they arrive before the end of the implementation period. Such expats will also have their right to Spanish residency protected for as long as they remain living there.

In short, should the UK leave the EU with a deal, travel to the EU will remain unchanged until the end of 2020. On the other hand, if the UK leaves without a deal, rules for travelling and working in Europe will change accordingly.

Good to Know

With the visa/Brexit issue covered, there’s more to life in Spain than admin, paperwork and entry documents.

To prepare you for your Spanish arrival and help you settle in once you touch down on Iberian soil, here are a few facts about life in Spain that are good to know:

Mediterranean Climate

Arguably the biggest draw for would-be expats in Spain, the toasty warmth of the Spanish climate is an attractive proposition for many Brits seeking escape from drab and damp weather of the UK.

The south of Spain is particularly blessed with sunny weather, with the Balearic and Canary Islands boasting a warm climate all-year-round. In the summer months, temperatures in Spain can even break the 40 degrees Celsius barrier.

Even when temperatures drop, the sun is a virtual constant regardless of the season and it’s not unusual for islands like Mallorca to feature sunshine even in December.

According to Spanish travel experts, SeekingTheSpanishSun.com, the five warmest winter destinations in Spain are Marbella, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Costa Tropical and Seville, with temperate highs of 16-22 degrees.

- Property Prices

While growing housing prices in Britain have made it increasingly difficult for many to mount that first rung on the property ladder, the same can’t be said for real estate in Spain.

Low-interest rates – particularly in coastal regions – make Spain an attractive proposition for property buyers.

In fact, national statistics show that there is 78% home ownership in Spain, considerably higher than the UK and notably above the EU average.

For additional help buying a property in Spain, you may want to enlist the aid of a gestor who will be able to guide you through the process smoothly.

Cost of Living

Another huge perk of life in Spain, the cost of living is lower than the UK in almost every measurable metric.

According to statistics website, Numbeo, Spanish prices trump the British equivalent across the board, with an overwhelming majority of goods and services costing less en España.

From groceries and rent to cigarettes and beer, the Spaniards have us Brits well and truly trumped.

Dining out is also cheaper, providing all the more reason to enjoy some tapas and a few sangrias with friends.

However, there are some curious exceptions to the rule, with items like cheese, beef and bananas all costing around 15-20% more.

However, it’s worth noting that the average monthly salary is also less in Spain, which does offset the price differential somewhat.

Easy Does It

Spain is renowned worldwide for its laid-back lifestyle and the slower pace of life can be a huge culture shock for those used to the hectic pace of working life in the UK.

That being said, it’s undoubtedly a welcome change for many and the relaxed approach is the polar opposite to the daily rush many of us Brits have become accustomed to.

A famous part of this calmer approach is, of course, the mid-afternoon siestas. Meanwhile, it’s not unusual for morning routines to run into early afternoon.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the entire month of August is traditionally viewed as a domestic holiday month for most Spanish natives.

While this is great for relaxing and reinforces Spain as a fantastic destination to unwind and enjoy life, it can make things difficult when it comes to errands and admin.

As such, if you need to get something important done, it’s best to arrange your activity outside of these times, where possible.

Transferring Money to Spain

Of course, no UK expat in Spain will be able to survive very long without financial backing. As such, moving money to Spain from the UK is a vital part of the process.

Whether you’re looking to purchase a property or arrange accommodation rental, transferring funds from the UK to Spain is a necessary part of securing a place to stay prior to arrival.

Prior to doing so, it’s important to secure the best exchange rate possible. Doing your due diligence and getting the right exchange rate can provide substantial savings.

In order to ensure you get the best exchange rate for transferring money to Spain, Universal Partners FX is here to do just that.

Our safe, secure transaction process allows you to transfer money to Spain quickly and effectively with no hidden transaction fees or strings attached.

To transfer money to Spain, simply follow our easy three-step process:

  1. Register for free
  2. Secure your exchange rate
  3. We make your payment

With a 5-star rating from independent review site Feefo, we have a proven track record as a top-quality FX partner. Send money to Spain with Universal Partners FX and give your transfer trouble a siesta today.

For more advice for expats in Spain or to find out more about sending money to Spain from the UK, why not drop us a line today? Call 020 7190 9559 now or get in touch online by using the button below.

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Sterling has hit an 18-month high against the US dollar and a three-year high against the euro after the Conservative party won the general election with a majority. Investors have welcomed the results as the Prime Minister’s majority means clarity and certainty on Brexit. The pound’s surge vs the US dollar is one of the biggest gains in a decade and economists are now predicting that sterling could strengthen even further.

Since the release of Thursday night’s exit poll clearly showing Boris Johnson was expected to win the election, the pound has gained strength, both against the US dollar and the euro. Now investors are hopeful that Brexit will be delivered on time by the end of January 2020 with Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Conservative triumph: Best outcome for the markets

According to financial analyst at MUFG, Lee Hardman, the election is “the best outcome for financial markets in the near-term. It brings a clear end to the Brexit deadlock in parliament, which will be welcomed and help to ease some of the ongoing uncertainty. The risk of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will pushed out until the end to next year, and the new government will not be as reliant on securing support from hard Brexiteers during future negotiations. The pound is well placed to extend its advance even after recent strong gains.”

However, other economists are warning that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit in 2020 will put more pressure on the economy. Paul Dales of Capital Economics said that “The majority confirmed in Parliament will allow Johnson to pass his Brexit deal, which would mean the UK leaves the EU on 31st January and enters a status quo transition period until 31st December 2020. A fiscal stimulus of £20bn per year (1% of GDP) may then follow in a Budget in February. But this probably won’t unleash a tidal wave of business investment that leads to much faster GDP growth, much higher interest rates and a much bigger rise in pound than the gain … already seen. That’s because businesses will fear that the UK could end up trading with the EU on WTO terms after 31st December 2020, the immediate effects of which would be similar to those of a ‘no deal.’”

While many investors and analysts have highlighted the uncertainty regarding the next phase of Brexit and the future relationship the UK will negotiate with the EU, nonetheless, the Conservative’s victory is the ideal result for businesses as a clear majority eliminates the risk of a hung parliament and Corbyn’s radical politics, and eases anxiety about Brexit.

Getting Brexit done

This is why, the next step would be for the Prime Minister to secure the right deal with the EU so that businesses can thrive. The Institute of Directors, for example, is asking Johnson to give time to businesses to adjust and secure the right deal with the EU rather than just any deal. Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Business leaders’ thoughts will immediately be turning to Brexit. For directors, ‘Get Brexit Done’ will only have meaning once the details of our long-term future relationship with the EU are clear, they need a framework to plan for the future from. The Prime Minister must resist the urge for arbitrary negotiating deadlines, and should commit to a proper adjustment period that starts when businesses know the full detail of what changes they may be facing. Our members have made clear that the content and shape of any new deal are much more important than simply the speed in getting there.”

Not only the markets, but also the US president welcomed the results. Donald Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!”

Indeed, with the election results, the UK has demonstrated its preference for Johnson’s clear-cut logic for getting Brexit done and its distaste for Corbyn’s left-wing policies. At the same time, analysts are cautious about the dampening effect Brexit has had on growth and the uncertainty it will continue to exert on the economy as the UK strives to secure a trade deal.

Transferring money overseas?

If you are transferring money overseas and want to protect your funds from currency fluctuations, then getting in touch with currency exchange specialists Universal Partners FX, will provide you with the certainty and security you need. UPFX monitors the markets and offers strategies to manage market volatility so you always know your money is delivered fast and securely. For more information, visit their website or give them a call.