Eurozone crisis: Euro set for biggest monthly drop since mid-2019 – Covid chaos bites hard

Markets reacted badly to the prospect of tougher coronavirus curbs in France and Germany, sending the euro’s value tumbling to just 0.85p. It was 0.90p as recently as December last year.

Despite numerous vaccines being on the market for months, the EU’s obsession with a centralised and overly bureaucratic rollout has hampered its effectiveness.

This has left it languishing far behind Brexit Britain, whose rollout has stormed ahead.

As well as affecting the liberties of its citizens, this inaction is now weighing heavily on the Eurozone’s economic prospects.

The currency slipped 0.2 per cent in London trading last week.

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“Much focus will remain on the virus situation in Europe and whether lockdowns can slow rising case numbers and also whether the slow pace of vaccinations can finally reach exit speed,” ING economists said in a daily note.

Pound sterling, meanwhile, appears to be on the up.

It strengthened against the majority of its rival currencies as the UK began relaxing Covid-induced lockdown restrictions this week.

Sterling experienced a temporary blip in mid-March when concerns about supplies of the AstraZeneca jab emerged.

The EU also briefly threatened to block experts of jabs to countries with higher vaccination rates than itself.

This would have hit the UK hard, prompting the sterling to fall against the dollar and euro.

But it has since rebounded following news that the slow down in supply will not affect the rollout and mediation talks between the EU and UK over vaccine exports.

Markets were reassured when Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News the UK was “on course” to meet its target of offering a first dose to the top nine priority groups by 15 April and all UK adults by the end of July.

Speaking to PoundSterlingLive, he said: “We’ve built an infrastructure in this country that really is world-class, it would enable us to vaccinate even more people than we have done in recent weeks – millions more people.”

Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union, said: “The pound has shown tentative signs of bottoming as the UK maintains that it has enough vaccine supply to inoculate all adults by August.”

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