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Covid-19 – Just when is the right time to convert your money?

Unprecedented times….”

A phrase we have no doubt heard more in the last few months than in most of our lifetimes. We are indeed living through and experiencing unprecedented times, sadly, not for great reasons.

Just when we thought the news (and life in general) would start to become a bit more interesting following the formal announcement that Britain will be definitely leaving the EU, Covid-19 came along and turned everything upside down again.

With this came increased volatility in the currency markets which threw a lot of people’s moves overseas into serious doubt. Cancelled flights and shipments as well as disruption to living circumstances and house completions all played havoc. Thankfully, as things have started to ease, the majority are still very much on course to begin their new dream life in their chosen part of the world, albeit slightly later than they may have planned.

The extreme swings in currency valuation caused by the virus have been astonishing. For example, before the global panic struck at the start of March, the Pound was trading at around 1.30 – 1.32 against the USD, and in just 10 days the rate had fallen to a 35 year low at around 1.15. To give you an idea of the financial cost of such a fall, if you were sending £200,000.00 to the US this would have resulted in you receiving $34,000 less for your Sterling. A potentially life changing amount and one that could have had serious consequences if you were in the process of buying a home to move to in the USA.  At the same time, the AUD and NZD spiked to multi year highs at 2.0450 and 2.0950 respectively, meaning that if you had an order in the market to take advantage of the volatility you could have benefitted hugely. The normal market moving economic data has been broadly ignored for a long time now because of Brexit and Covid-19, so you just need to be proactive and prepared for unexpected movements as opposed to hoping for the best.

The same rule applies across other major currencies. Here are the highs and lows of a select few currency pairs from the start of March 2020 to the start of June 2020 with the difference in value based on £200,000.00 being exchanged:

– GBP AUD High 2.0450 Low 1.8120 (AUD 46,600.00 difference)

– GBP NZD High 2.0950 low 1.9390 (NZD 31,200.00 difference)

– GBP CAD High 1.7855 Low 1.6650 (CAD 24,100.00 difference)

– GBP ZAR High 23.6000 Low 19.8550 (ZAR 749,000.00 difference)

– GBP EUR High 1.1720 Low 1.0603 (EUR 22,400.00 difference)

John Mason FX has tools and products to help you mitigate the risks in the currency markets. For example, a Market Order helps you to target a specific rate you would like to exchange at with the added security of being able to put a safety net in place called a Stop Loss to prevent it from free  falling past your absolute bottom line figure when you are not looking. So, should the market move to a point where the currency can be exchanged at your desired rate it will automatically trigger the order, taking the stress out of the situation for you.

Also, and our most popular product for people who do not need the funds right away but are concerned about the rates moving against them, you have the Forward Contract. This enables you to secure ‘todays’ rate of exchange for a date in future, meaning you can relax knowing exactly what you have in your pocket when you step off the plane to start your new life. A small deposit is payable at the time of securing the rate of exchange, and the balance is paid at the date you secure to in future. Regardless of where the rate goes in that time, you have your price fixed enabling you to budget accurately and plan accordingly. This peace of mind is worth its weight in gold and 99% of clients using the forward tell us they felt better for knowing where they stood from day one regardless of what the rate did after they had done their deal.

The long-term effects of Covid-19 on the economy are still yet to be felt, and whilst nobody has a crystal ball one thing can be guaranteed; the currency markets will experience significant volatility meaning the value of your Sterling will fluctuate wildly. Each day around $6 trillion US Dollars’ worth of currency flows through the market making it the most volatile commodity globally. We are here to help you mitigate the risks you are exposed to by that volatility and ultimately help you to make a more informed decision when it comes to exchanging your funds. Being proactive and securing a rate is never a bad thing. Quite often if you choose to sit on your hands and see what happens, it is too late by the time you react to adverse rate movement and the damage is done meaning your costs can spiral.

We want to ensure every penny counts, so get in touch with our team of specialists to discuss your transfer today on +44 (0) 161 960 0273 or by email at

We look forward to helping you!

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