My Lords, the currency markets are febrile and volatile and we have seen the phenomenal strength of the yen and the US dollar. Sterling has been a weaker currency, alongside several other currencies, but that is as much a feature of the strength of the dollar and the yen as the weakness of sterling. Indeed, as the IMF said recently when referring to the UK:
"For over a decade, the United Kingdom has sustained low inflation and rapid economic growth—an exceptional achievement ... the fruit of strong policies and policy frameworks, which provide a strong foundation to weather global shocks".
There are a number of reasons why we are better placed than in previous downturns. First, the Bank of England's independence has continued to give us low interest rates and inflation well below the double-digit levels we saw in earlier decades. On
One point of encouragement in recent weeks amidst extremely challenging developments has been the fallback in the price of oil from summer's recent high. Oil prices are presently around $60 a barrel compared with $150 a barrel during the summer of this year.