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Pound falls to lowest level against dollar since 1985

The pound fell to $1.2861 on Wednesday morning. Credit: PA

Sterling fell to a fresh 31-year low against the dollar as Asian markets opened on Wednesday.

The pound hit $1.2861, more than 15% below the levels seen on the day of the EU referendum, in early trading.

Against the euro sterling fell one per cent below Tuesday's closing figure to €1.1625, its lowest level since 2013.

The slide follows a sharp drop on Tuesday following poor performance figures for the UK's dominant service sector.


Aviva suspends trading in £1.8bn property fund after Brexit

Aviva has suspended trading in its £1.8 billion property fund as investors scramble to pull their money out of UK commercial property holdings following the Brexit vote.

The move follows Standard Life Investments, which made the same move on Monday, halting dealings in its £2.7 billion UK property fund.

Over recent months we have been experiencing higher than usual volumes of requests to sell units in the trust, and this, coupled with challenging market conditions in light of investor sentiment regarding the EU referendum, has reduced the amount of cash held by the trust.

As it takes a considerable time to sell properties, we have had to suspend dealing until the amount of cash held in the trust increases.

– A spokesperson for Aviva Investors Property Trust

The suspension means that investors are now restricted from buying or selling shares in the fund.

Aviva said it is acting in the interests of all investors, adding that it was unable to give a timeframe for when the suspension would be lifted.

It's probably only a matter of time before we see other funds follow suit. The problem these funds face is that it takes time to sell commercial property to meet withdrawals, and the cash buffers built up by the managers have been eroded by investors heading for the door, both in the run-up to the EU referendum, and in the aftermath.

– Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown


Business secretary: It's time to embrace Brexit

Sajid Javid speaking on Tuesday

British businesses can eventually benefit from Brexit, the business secretary has said as he urged Britain to begin "embracing" the vote to leave the European Union.

Speaking at parliament during a regular question session, Sajid Javid said there will be medium-term and long-term opportunities for businesses from the vote, including for the auto industry.

Because of last week's decision of course there are some short term challenges for businesses but we must also remember there are medium-term and long-term opportunities for business as well, and that includes the auto industry.

– Sajid Javid

"Free trade agreements with many more countries is just one of those, Australia I think is an excellent example, it is exactly the thing we should be working on," he added.

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