London (CNN Business)The pound hit its lowest level in more than two years Tuesday as investor anxiety about the prospect of a messy Brexit continues to grow.
Boris Johnson has used his first days as prime minister to double down on his threat to leave the European Union on October 31, even without an exit agreement in place to protect trade.That’s driven the pound to lows against the dollar not seen since March 2017. The pound nearly broke below $1.21 on Tuesday before recovering slightly.Brexit is becoming the nightmare business has long fearedThe currency has weakened dramatically since Brits voted to leave the European Union in 2016.After trading near $1.49 ahead of the referendum, it had slumped to $1.20 by January 2017 on fears that former Prime Minister Theresa May would take Britain out of the EU’s huge unified market and customs union.Read MoreAnalysts think the pound could be poised to test that level again, given the standoff between the United Kingdom and the European Union.”[Johnson] is committed to a hard-line stance towards the EU that will, of course, be rebuffed aggressively. In the process, sterling moves to the bottom of its post-referendum ranges,” Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes wrote in a note. A sharp decline in the value of the pound could cause inflation to spike, hurting consumers. And while it might help exporters, a collapsing currency could scare off foreign investors and make life difficult for UK companies that have to make payments in dollars.