By Nadeem Badshah
HOLIDAYMAKERS to India have been given a boost after the currency rate between the pound and rupee improved due to Brexit optimism and prime minister Boris Johnson’s election win.
Travellers have got around Rs 94 per British sterling pound in January after the Conservative’s thumping win at the polls and MPs voting to back the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
The figure was around Rs 92 prior to December’s election and had slumped from Rs 98.70 to Rs 89.78 after the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to foreign exchange firm Caxton.
Louis Bridger of International Currency Exchange said the sterling has been affected by political uncertainty since 2016 but had strengthened in recent weeks.
Bridger told Eastern Eye: “This is good news for British holidaymakers heading to India, who can get more than 12 per cent rupees for their pounds compared to July 2019. This means that for £1,000, Brits can get roughly Rs 94,690 compared to July 30, 2019, when £1,000 was worth approximately Rs 84,060.
“These gains have likely been fuelled by the fact that there is more certainty about when and how the UK will leave the EU – since the referendum the markets have generally liked any news that keeps the UK linked closely to the European Union and responded negatively when a no-deal Brexit has appeared to become more likely.
“The stronger pound, plus excellent value for money in India, means that 2020 could be a great time for savvy holidaymakers to explore everything India has to offer.”
The prime minister hosted Ursula Von Der Leyen, European commission president, in Downing Street last week as he prepares to take Britain out of the EU by January 31 and secure a free trade deal.
The improved currency rate is also set to boost businesses that import from India. Jaffer Kapasi OBE from the East Midlands Chamber in Leicester expects more people to book holidays to India and reschedule weddings to secure better prices for jewellery, clothing, gifts and hotels.
He told Eastern Eye: “The ‘Boris bounceback’ has certainly boosted the economic moral of people of Indian origin in Leicestershire. We are able to get around Rs 95 against Rs 87- Rs 88 just a few weeks ago.
“Indian commodities are experiencing reduction in prices and all imports from India, particularly food and vegetables, have had a positive impact for the consumers of Indian origin.
“Businesses, particularly importers, will now benefit with cheaper imports of food, groceries, fabric, utensils and electrical goods, and can smile with higher margins in their pockets. “Investors wishing to buy properties are now switching their interest to India.”
Meanwhile, a survey by the Bank of England found that businesses are feeling less hamstrung by Brexit uncertainty. Although 53 per cent of firms reported Brexit as one of their top three sources of uncertainty in December, this was lower than the average for the previous three months, which included the run-up to the previous deadline for Britain to leave the EU of October 31.
The proportion of businesses citing Brexit as their single largest source of uncertainty also fell, down from 19.7 per cent in November to 18 per cent in December.
The bank said: “In the December survey, the date at which businesses expected Brexit-related uncertainty to be resolved was pushed further into the future.”