The pound weakened against the euro and dollar on Thursday, following confirmation that England’s current lockdown will persist for at least another five weeks.
At a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday evening, UK prime minister Boris Johnson said schools would remain shut until at least 8 March. He promised to set out a fuller plan for unlocking the economy towards the end of February.
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While ministers had suggested restrictions could remain in place until March, the confirmation is a blow for the economy. Non-essential retail is not expected to reopen until at least April while pubs and restaurants could be shut until May, according to the Telegraph.
Sterling was down 0.2% against the euro in early trade on Thursday to reach €1.1272 (GBPEUR=X). Despite the dip, the pound remained close to 2021 highs against the pairing.
The pound was down 0.4% against the dollar to $1.3637 (GBPUSD=X).
Daniel Noonan, an economist with AIB, said there was a “risk-off tone” that was supportive of the dollar.
WATCH: Schools won’t reopen till March