Pound and stock markets soar after Conservative election win

Sterling and the stock markets surged after the Conservatives’ election win, which will be a mixed blessing for farming.

The pound had risen almost two cents against the dollar to U$1.54 by 10.30am on Friday (8 May).

This was just back on a 2.4% rise earlier in the morning – the biggest single one-day gain for the pound since January 2009.

See also: Election 2015 – time to deliver on farm pledges

Sterling had also risen two eurocents against the euro, with a pound buying €1.38.

The strength of the British currency over the last year has put extra pressure on agriculture, at a time when most sectors are depressed by oversupply.

A strong pound has made British exports more expensive and foreign products cheaper, weighing on farmgate prices and making imports tempting for retailers.

The CLA’s foreign exchange update said sterling was “firing on all cylinders” after the exit poll, which suggested a shock Tory victory.

But it said there were still market concerns over an EU referendum and Scottish Independence, after the SNP’s dominance north of the border.

“Of course, while the news of a Tory majority may take some of the near-term risk out of sterling assets, there are still some very important questions to answer,” the report said.

Shares in publicly quoted food and farming firms also enjoyed a bounce, as the chance of a Conservative majority offered stability.

In early trading, the FTSE 250 index jumped 3.02% to 17,974 and the FTSE 100 rose 1.87% to 7,016.

Shares in land agent and property firm Savills were trading almost 7% higher.

Pork processor Cranswick was up 4.7%, while Dairy Crest and Associated British Foods (ABF) were enjoying a 2.4% rise.

Retailers also benefited from the positivity, with Tesco shares rising 2.5% and Sainsbury’s up 2.4%.