The euro and sterling plummeted to fresh 20-year and 37-year lows against a surging U.S. dollar on Friday after surveys showed the downturn in business activity across the euro zone and Britain accelerated this month and the economies were likely entering a recession.
Also weighing on sterling, Britain’s new finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced tax cuts and household and corporate support measures and the UK debt office laid out plans for 72 billion pounds ($79.74 billion) of additional issuance for this financial year to fund the stimulus.
Sterling was set for its biggest weekly decline against the U.S. dollar in two years after it touched a fresh 37-year low of $1.1022. The pound was last down 1.9% at $1.1049. British bond yields were set for their biggest daily rises in decades.
“The UK budget proposals do not reflect the need and the realities of the UK economy, one that likely requires corporations to pay more so that higher revenue can come in to the government,” said Juan Perez, director of trading at Monex USA in Washington.
“A lot of the growth in the UK could come from further debt at a time of deep recessionary pressures and the market is reacting swiftly,” he added.
Earlier in the morning, UK PMI figures showed the downturn in Britain’s economy worsened this month as companies battled soaring costs and faltering demand.