Britain’s decision to leave the European Union sent new shock waves through UK financial and stock markets on Monday, with the pound sinking to its lowest level against the dollar for 31 years.
This was despite attempts by Chancellor George Osborne to halt the crash and ease the political and economic turmoil unleashed by the decision to leave the EU.
“There’s still an awful lot of questions that need to be answered as to what happens next and until we see some clarity here, the volatility is likely to continue.”
Mr Osborne claimed the British economy is strong enough to cope with the volatility caused by Thursday’s referendum, but sterling fell to a low of $1.3151, before rallying back slightly to a 3.4 per cent fall to $1.321. This follows a nine per cent fall on Friday.
Chris Saint, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Currency, said: “It’s a sea of red for sterling again as investor sentiment continues to sour after the UK’s vote to leave the EU.”
More than £40bn was wiped off the value of Britain’s biggest companies. This followed a £45bn crash on Friday.
The FTSE 100 Index plunged back below the 6,000 mark, slipping 2.6 per cent to 5,982.2, despite Mr Osborne offering his assurances that the UK is “about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces”.
Yorkshire’s biggest firms took another battering.
Shares in Yorkshire’s biggest PLC, York-based housebuilder Persimmon, tumbled 14 per cent to close down 210p at 1,310p. This followed a 28 per cent decline on Friday as analysts warned that the housing market will be hit hard by the Brexit decision.
Chris Schutrups, managing director of The Mortgage Hut warned that housebuilders are also facing a shortage of skilled foreign workers following the vote.
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of the buying agents Garrington Property Finders, said: “Without renewed stimulus, Britain’s property market faces a hard reset and a Darwinian future of victims, survivors and predators.”
A recent entrant to the FTSE 100, Bradford-based credit lender Provident Financial saw its shares tumble 12 per cent to close down 287p at 2,164p. This followed an 16 per cent fall on Friday.
Leeds-based International Personal Finance, another credit lender and a top-10 Yorkshire PLC, saw its shares fall 10 per cent to close down 26p at 231p. This followed a 13 per cent rumble on Friday.
Analyst Daoud Fakhri at Verdict Financial said: “Demand for home finance will inevitably be dented, as consumers react to the uncertainty generated by the vote by postponing major spending decisions.”
Shares in Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons fell five per cent, down 8p to 17.5p after analysts said an impending recession will hit consumer spending.
British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said a prolonged fall in the value of the pound will affect import costs and ultimately consumer prices. Morrisons’ fall follows a four per cent decline on Friday.
UK banks also took another big hit.
Royal Bank of Scotland briefly plunged to its lowest level since 2009, before finishing more than 15 per cent down at 174.3p.
RBS, which is 73 per cent owned by the taxpayer, and Barclays saw their shares suspended for five minutes as automatic circuit breakers sprung into action when they dropped more than 8 per cent. Shares in Barclays finished 17 per cent lower at 26.7p.
Lloyds, which owns the Halifax, lost 10 per cent to close at 51p.
Experts said that Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Halifax, and Royal Bank of Scotland could remain part-owned by the taxpayer for years to come after the stock market chaos caused by Brexit.
Away from the top tier, the FTSE 250, which is seen as a better barometer of UK business than the FTSE 100, slumped nearly 7 per cent to 14,967.86.
Elland-based landscape products firm Marshalls saw its shares tumble 16 per cent to 213p and Sheffield-based insulation firm SIG saw 13 per cent wiped off its shares to close at 105p. Both were hit by the ramifications for the housing market.