British expats struggling to cope with weak Sterling as experts predict further falls on disappointing GDP figures

by Ray Clancy on January 27, 2010

British expats are struggling to cope with a weaker pound in a number of key offshore markets with those living in Spain suffering the most, according to a survey. Expats in Australia and New Zealand though seem relatively unaffected by the weakening currency, the survey from foreign exchange provider Moneycorp also found.

The findings echo those of other recent surveys, as well as the recent comments of many financial advisers with expatriate clients. ‘Some 85% of expats in Spain said that the value of sterling has impacted on them financially, with 79% saying that their spending power has decreased as a result. Britons living in Germany and Italy are also being significantly impacted by the fall in sterling, as 67% and 66% respectively, reported feeling the pinch.

In France, the story is similar, with nearly half reporting they are being impacted by the fall in sterling while in the US it was 61%. Less than a quarter of British expats in Australia though, 23%, and New Zealand, 24%, said that their spending power had decreased.

David Kerrns, Moneycorp head of private clients, said the findings revealed British expats have had a tough time as no country has escaped unharmed from the economic downturn. He urged struggling expats to monitor the currency markets and seek expert guidance to minimize their difficulties. ‘You need to try to avoid nasty surprises in exchange rates and determine the best time to transfer money to and from the UK,’ he explained.

The Pound declined again yesterday (Tuesday January 26) against most actively traded currencies, falling over 1% versus the Euro and 0.5% against the US Dollar after the Office of National Statistics showed that the UK economy returned to growth by less than economists forecasts. Gross domestic product rose just 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2009 which disappointed investors who had anticipated a 0.4% increase, while the lowest prediction was for a result of 0.2%.

Commenting on the figures, Jeremy Cook, chief economist of foreign exchange broker, World First, described it as ‘a nightmare for Sterling. ‘The run of good data for the UK economy has definitely ended and while we are glad the UK is out of recession in technical terms, this does signify that we are only just setting out on the long road to recovery. I would not be surprised if sterling continued to fall against most of its competitors throughout the remainder of the week,’ he warned.


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