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In the wee hours of June 24th 2016 the pound plunged. The unexpected victory of the Leave campaign in the Brexit referendum meant sterling lost 7% in a single day. Three years later the pound is falling once again. It is now at a two-year low, having fallen by 5% against the dollar since April—and 1% in the past month, the worst performance of any big currency (see chart). Many Britons ascribe any movement in the pound to the twists and turns of the Brexit saga. The cause of its recent slide is, however, more complicated.
Sterling has been weaker since the referendum because the prospect of Brexit has led economists to cut their forecasts for economic growth. It reached a low in October 2016 when Theresa May, the prime minister, promised a “hard” Brexit. Yet it appreciated fairly steadily in 2017 and 2018.