THE pound has strengthened against the dollar following news that Prince Philip will retire from public engagements later in the year.
Markets were spooked this morning by rumours of the Duke’s ill health, but the pound has since rallied after Buckingham Palace announced that he was fine, and is simply retiring from royal duties.
The pound dropped to 1.283 this morning following speculation over the Queen and her husband’s health, but a few hours later it rebounded to 1.29, and has since dropped slightly to 1.2887.
The euro has remained fairly steady against the pound.
A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year.
“Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen.
“Thereafter, The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time.”
Stock markets are hugely sensitive to global and political events. Following Theresa May’s announcemnt of a snap general election in June, the pound surged against the dollar and euro.
Sterling ended up at 1.2762 against the US dollar – a four month high, and hit 1.1926 against the euro – an eight-week high.
Sterling was also bolstered this morning when the Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI report, a closely watched measure of Britain’s services industry, unexpectedly rose to a four-month high of 55.8 in April, above forecasts.
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