British Pound

After the flash crash, who are the winners if sterling stays low?

Sterling shocked everyone overnight by plunging as 6 percent against the dollar. Since then, the pound has recovered slightly from its flash crash but is still down against the euro and other currencies.

The currency had been under pressure all week on fears that the U.K. could experience a "hard" Brexit and lose access to Europe's single market when it leaves the European Union – which could hurt the economy. And it is looking likely that sterling will remain low.

"Without some indication that 'hard' Brexit is not going to occur, it potentially looks like it will persist," Shilen Shah, bond strategist at investec wealth & investment, told CNBC via email.

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"Also, the rising potential of the Fed tightening in December is likely to put further pressure on Cable [the dollar/sterling trade]," she added.

If the sell-off in sterling persists, here are some of the sectors are likely to see winners.


A weaker sterling should be a boon for U.K. companies with foreign earnings. The FTSE 100, made up of several large businesses with global incomes, was up around 0.8 percent on Friday.

"A weaker pound continues to be a positive for UK equities, which were flirting with record highs," Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a note.

Multinational firms, including miners, are also likely to benefit, Lawler added, although he highlighted some concerns

"But the size of the drop in currency markets was not mirrored in the rise in the FTSE 100," he said. "The benefits of a weaker pound for exports and higher inflation are being offset by a concern the exchange rate's decline has become destabilising."

Travel and tourism

The U.K. may become a more attractive and affordable destination to tourists if sterling remains lower, which will be a boost for hotels and other accommodation, according to Michael Martins, economist at the Institute of Directors.

"The number of American visitors in particular, will likely increase as the American dollar is set to appreciate relative to sterling as the Fed signals an interest rate is on the cards in the near term," Martins told CNBC via email.

And international property investors may get a bump, too.

"International investors may find now an opportune time to scoop up assets in some of the more tourist-centric areas of the U.K., where their foreign currency goes much further than prior to the referendum," Martins added.


The fall in sterling will also have an impact on energy prices, with producers and suppliers set to benefit. The U.K. imports nearly half of its gas supply from the EU, Norway and Qatar, meaning gas imports are likely to become more expensive, according to Gavin McCormick, consulting director at energy consultancy Beond.

"Following June's contentious Brexit vote, fears of a 'hard Brexit' continue to raise concerns about Britain's economic prosperity, driving the sterling lower," he told CNBC via email.

"Gas producers in Europe and the Middle East will be looking to cash-in on the higher prices available in Britain compared to Continental Europe, while energy suppliers may also see profits rise from the increase in wholesale energy prices."

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