Slump in sterling against euro and dollar leaves families paying more for Easter holidays and skiing trips

Families looking to go abroad for the Easter holidays or to get in some late-season skiing face paying significantly more than this time a year ago as the pound has plunged from 2015 highs. At its current level of ‘ 1.28 against the single currency, sterling is only six cents lower than its rate this time last year – but it is 16 cents off its July high of ‘ 1.44. Which means those heading to the continent this Easter will find it 11 per cent more expensive than they did last summer.

Meanwhile, the pound now buys $1.44, 5 per cent lower than the $1.52 it bought this time last year but 9 per cent less than its summer peak versus the dollar of $1.58. That means just about any skiing destination outside of eastern Europe will feel a bit pricier than this time last year.

Heading abroad: Brits looking to go abroad for the school holidays face paying more than a year ago as the pound has fallen by 8 per cent against the euro, research suggests

Koko Sarkari, COO of ICE said: ‘There s little doubt that kids will love the two school breaks in quick succession, but an early Easter this year may put family finances under extra pressure.

‘A bit of planning both in terms of ordering travel money and methods of payment overseas can help make budgets go that bit further.

‘Getting a good deal on currency should be a top priority for travellers wherever they go and by combining a number of options from pre-ordered travel money cash, loading currency onto prepaid cards, or using a credit card that s free of overseas charges, travellers can take advantage of convenient payment options and competitive rates of exchange.’

According to research from Post Office Money, people going skiing in the next few weeks face forking out around 66 more for essentials like food and drink on a week’s trip than two months ago. Edged up: This morning, on the back of positive retail results from the British Retail Consortium , the pound edged up just over 0.1 per cent against the euro, giving ‘ 1.2912 for every 1

Sterling sank to a 13-month low against the euro yesterday, and some poor trade figures for the UK economy saw the pound fall again today versus both euro and dollar.

The Office for National Statistics also announced that Britain’s trade gap grew to its highest level since 2010 last year as the UK saw an 8.1billion plunge in the export of goods. The ONS said the deficit – the difference in value between UK imports and exports – widened by 300million to 34.7billion in 2015. Hans Redeker, Morgan Stanley’s head of currency strategy, said: ‘When there is global illiquidity, it is going to be more difficult to fund the deficit.’

Mr Redeker adds: ‘So in the UK we have a choice of either higher yields or a lower sterling, and in the current environment it is clearly going to be a weaker sterling.’

Trade: Today, the Office for National Statistics also announced that Britain’s trade gap grew to its highest level since 2010 last year as the UK saw an 8.1billion plunge in the export of goods

According to Mr Redeker, the pound is benefiting from expectations of an accommodative statement on US interest rates from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday.

Martin Beck, senior economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, said: ‘The trade deficit appears to have narrowed in the last two months of 2015.

‘However, the picture for Q4 as a whole was pretty poor, with the deficit of 10.4bn being the widest since Q1. Over the quarter exports fell back, while imports continued to rise. This suggests that net trade is likely to have exerted a drag on GDP growth in Q4.

‘Falling exports to non-EU countries were largely responsible for the soft overall figures.

In volume terms, exports of goods (excluding oil & erratics) to these areas were down 5.2% in the three months to December compared with a year earlier.’

Meanwhile, Howard Archer, Chief UK and European Economist at IHS Global Insight, said: ‘ UK exporters will likely be seriously concerned by the current increasingly worrying global economic outlook.

‘While the main concern has been centered on China and Emerging Markets, there are currently mounting worries over the prospects for growth in the developed countries amid heightened financial market turmoil.

‘UK manufacturers will be hoping hard that Eurozone domestic demand can benefit over the coming months from reasonably decent fundamentals, notably including reasonable consumer purchasing power’.

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