THE UK economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of the year but the pound has continued to struggle against the euro.
The pound has fallen by 0.4 per cent against the euro to 1.1186, with a peak of 1.1244 euros to the pound in the last 24 hours.
Although the growth in the economy was far from sensational in the second quarter of the year, it did represent a small improvement on the first quarter of 2017, which saw 0.2 per cent growth.
The slight pick-up in the economy – largely thanks to retail spending – was in line with expectations, and topped off the weakest first half growth since 2012.
Sterling picked up before the announcement on July 26, but dipped when the figures were released before climbing again in the afternoon.
The muted climb reflects investors’ Brexit concerns, but also suggests that buyers believe the UK economy will pick up later in 2017.
Where is the best place to get euros?
Euros can be bought at supermarkets, the Post Office and currency specialists – but the rates vary massively.
The best rates can often be found at specialist online outlets, such as Travelex, which can deliver your cash to home.
Alternatively, FairFX offers currency cards which you can load up with sterling and then spend abroad like a debit card.
Travellers can use comparison sites, such as MoneySavingExpert’s TravelMoneyMax, to find the best rate.
If you order in advance and pick up the cash then you’ll most likely get a better rate than if you walk in.
Your can also buy last-minute currency at the airport, but expect to be hit with poor rates.
It’s almost always much cheaper to buy your currency before you get to the airport.
The rates you’ll see above are the “spot” currency rate that is traded on the market.
These are different to the rates offered by currency exchange businesses, but changes in the spot rate do have an affect on how much cash you get.
How to get the best holiday money rate
WE spoke with Hannah Maundrell, editor-in-chief at money.co.uk to find out how you can guarantee the best rate when you go on holiday
- Don’t buy cash at the airport – you’ll always be able to beat the rate with a bit of forward planning
- Compare travel money companies online – Factor in delivery costs and choose the option that gives you the most cash to spend on holiday. If you’ve left it until the last minute order online for airport collection so you get the best of both worlds.
- Use comparison tools – MoneySavingExpert’s TravelMoneyMax enables you to compare pick-up and pre-order rates.
- Don’t pay for travel money with a credit card – it’s likely you’ll be charged a cash withdrawal fee which adds to the cost.
- Top up a prepaid card to lock in your rate now – Choose your card and read the T&Cs carefully as some apply hefty fees. WeSwap, FairFX and Caxton FX are all worth checking out.
- Always choose to pay in the local currency rather than sterling – This will help you avoid sneaky exchange fees
What is the Bank of England interest rate?
The UK interest rate – known as the “base rate” – is set by the Bank of England for lending to other banks, which is why it is used as the general benchmark for interest rates.
It may affect interest you pay on loans, or receive on savings accounts. The BoE’s monetary policy committee (MPC) sets rates and has said previously that it’s in no rush to push them up.
But many economists have said that rocketing inflation could put pressure on the BoE to take action and hike rates.
Low interest is good for borrowers and bad for savers, while the reverse is true of high interest rates.
Last August in the wake of the Brexit vote, policymakers voted to cut interest rates from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent.
The move aimed to stimulate economic growth by making loans more attractive and encouraging people to spend.
How do interest rates affect the pound to euro exchange rate?
Reducing interest rates makes it is less attractive to save money in the UK, meaning the value of Sterling can fall as a result of reduced demand.
Sterling dipped after the Brexit vote because financial markets – and the investors who operate in them – don’t react well to uncertainty.
When sterling is worth less, as it has been since the historic vote on June 23 last year, imports are more expensive.
However, a weak pound has boosted exporters, and benefited many of the big UK-listed companies which make profits in US dollars.
This is why the UK stock market has climbed in the months following the vote – essentially, big foreign companies are getting more bang for their buck and making more money as a result.
What other things affect the pound to euro exchange?
Foreign exchange rates are constantly changing, largely as a result of economic factors.
It can be affected when the Office for National Statistics reveals inflation rates or when employment figures are announced.
The pound is also sensitive to political changes and uncertainty, for example, during the EU referendum or if the Prime Minister calls a snap election.
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