Book your holidays! Pound soars as UK ‘outshines rivals’ and travel just got 75% cheaper | Personal Finance | Finance


It’s not me saying that, but no less a publication than the Financial Times. I clicked on the site this morning to be greeted with the headline: “Sterling outshines rivals as UK economy holds up better than expected”.

Few Britons will have expected that, given the gloom enveloping the country, which Jeremy Hunt’s spring Budget did little to dispel.

If a country’s currency is a vote on the state of its economy, we really are on the up. So I checked the figures, and it’s true.

The pound is on the warpath.

Over the last 12 months, it’s up a stonking 16.25 per cent against the Japanese yen. That’s not wholly surprising. The yen has fallen sharply and that’s turned Japan into an affordable tourist hotspot, even for Brits.

Now here’s the big one. The mighty US dollar has conquered allcomers for years.

When crisis strikes – and we’ve had plenty of those in recent years – global investors race to put their money into US government bonds, considered safer than gold.

Yet as economic confidence grows investors are selling dollars and taking a punt on the pound, which is up 8.57 percent against the greenback over 12 months. That trip to Florida, New York or sunny California just got cheaper.

That’s not the only dollar sterling is smashing.

It’s up more than seven percent against the New Zealand and Aussie dollars, and six percent against the Canadian dollar, nicknamed the “loonie”.

The pound is singing all the right tunes against European currency, too. It’s up almost five percent against the euro, making Spain, France, Italy and Greece better value.

One hugely popular travel destination is now almost 75 percent cheaper.

The annual Post Office Holiday Money Index analyses exchange rate movements to show where holidaying Britons will get more for their money.

Lately, that’s pretty much everywhere and the Post Office reports that sales are now rocketing for 21 of the 25 bestselling currencies.

It may be worth making a beeline for Turkey where Brits get a staggering 73 percent more for their money than a year ago, as the Turkish lira plunges. They’ll feel far richer over there than they do at home.

We can eat out for under a tenner and book a hotel from £12 a night. With petrol costing under £1 a litre getting around in a hire car is more affordable, too.

Or maybe consider Egypt instead, where the pound is worth 87.8 percent more than a year ago. Purchases of the Egyptian pound have rocketed 500 percent as a result.

The pound goes 20 percent further in Kenya and Brits are responding with currency sales also up 500 percent.

The Caribbean is dramatically cheaper and holidaymakers are snapping up the East Caribbean dollar, used in St Lucia, Antigua and Grenada, as well as the Barbados dollar.

Chinese yuan purchases are up 573 percent with Japanese yen sales rising 357 percent, the Post Office says.

So how come we’re suddenly feeling flush, at least in relative terms?

In the last two years, the UK economy has grown by 4.6 percent. That’s not great but it beats Italy (4.4 percent), USA (4.2 percent), France (3.5 percent) and struggling Germany (1.3 percent).

It also beats EU average growth of just four percent. Currency markets have noticed and driven up the pound to reflect better times to come.

READ MORE: ‘Pound is Europe’s US dollar!’ Investors change mind and make huge UK prediction

Britain may be burdened by the highest tax rates since the war, with taxes now totalling almost 38 percent of GDP.

Yet that’s still well below the EU average of 42 percent. And as we saw, Hunt has been in tax-cutting mode lately.

In recent years, the pound has been hammered by the furore over Brexit and the energy shock, which hits the UK hard because we rely on gas and oil imports.

Yet IMF number crunchers now predict Britain will grow faster than France, Germany, Italy and Japan over the next four years, as foreign trade booms after Brexit.

Given all the negativity, that’s something to celebrate. Ideally on a foreign beach. With a cheap drink.

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