Question: Why does 12 December feel like Christmas day?
Answer: Because both seemed like they will never arrive – and then they come in a rush.
12 December may not be, to quote President Roosevelt on 7 December 1941, “a date that will live in infamy”, but for the UK’s 46 million general election voters it certainly feels like that. The politicians of all parties in this election have promised the earth. Sometimes it feels like they have been promising to deliver heaven-on-earth.
The turmoil is financial as well as political. This election result will certainly produce a lot of confusion for currencies, as forex traders try to figure out the implications for the UK’s economy.
Currency traders will be at their desks before dawn on 12 December for a 24-hour slog. They will be glued to their multi-screens, trying to track the Pound Sterling’s moves against the Euro, the US Dollar, and other paper currencies. Their aim is to make money for big corporations, fund managers, private banks and others, who could win or lose a fortune on how the election goes – and how the Pound performs.
Their task has got more difficult thanks to social media. According to one, Jordan Rochester, “It used to be quite simple, you’d look at your Bloomberg and there’d be a headline up there saying Mark Carney said this or UK data says that. Now you refresh Twitter and it turns out there’s been some poll you didn’t expect to see.”
If this is a complex nightmare for big players, what’s it like for individuals trying to protect their savings? The currency moves will be fairly dramatic, no matter what. Christmas gifts could turn out to be cheaper if you paid for them in Euros – or they might cost you more.
Let’s imagine the Conservative Party wins a majority. Expectations of this are strong, and the Pound has risen against the US Dollar by more than 2% in the last two weeks, precisely on those expectations. The Pound will strengthen if they win a strong majority.
If on the other hand Labour wins a majority, currency traders expect the Pound to fall against the US Dollar.
No-one expects the Liberal-Democrats to win a majority but the vote might produce a hung Parliament – in which case the Lib-Dems could become a significant potential coalition partner.
This election is, objectively, another referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union. That further complicates the outlook, for if the Conservatives win by just a small majority then the Brexit debate might drag on well into 2020.
The electioneering by all parties has verged on the hysterical. Whatever the result, don’t expect an old-fashioned gentlemanly shaking of hands and an acceptance that the best team won. The kind of rancorousness that has plagued the campaign will continue. Forex traders will need to sit at their desks long into nights to come.
Where is gold in this mix? Currency traders don’t look at gold. They ignore it. If you want to dip out of the frenzy and put your savings into real money; if you want to protect yourself against the ups and downs of currency movements, then try Glint. Not only can you buy things on your Glint card using Pounds, Euros and US Dollars. You can also buy Gold – and sit out the hairy ride ahead.