The British Pound fell today against the US Dollar, leading to a drop below the 1.28 mark. After just barely breaking the 1.30 level over the past few days, it has now rapidly tumbled back down and passed the support level at 1.28, leading to a yearly low.
It seems that the GBP is the latest currency to face pressure against mounting fears of the coronavirus, as the number of cases in the UK have now risen to 40, mostly from infected individuals arriving in from Italy. While Britain seems to be largely spared from the increasing spread of the epidemic, the number of cases increasing in neighbouring European countries seems to have people preparing for the worst. The largest number of cases is still in Italy, with over 2000 infected and 52 deaths. This is a shocking increase of 20% infected from just the previous day.
The UK government is preparing for a worst case scenario as well, with health officials warning that the country can expect widespread infection fairly soon, with contact spreading expected to have already begun as well. When interviewed, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the country should prepare for “very significant expansion”, but also praised the National Health Service, saying that they were prepared and had the ability to conduct large scale virus testing.
20 schools across the country have shut down over coronavirus concerns, and now supermarkets are preparing for panic buying with additional stockpiles.
After seeing how the US stock market reacted to the coronavirus, with the Dow Jones dropping more than 1000 points in a single trading day, a loss of more than 10%, the Bank of England has promised to take action to prevent the same thing happening to the UK economy.
In tandem with other global stocks last week, the FTSE 100, or footsie also went down when a global sell-off caused markets to have their steepest falls since the 2008 recession.