Theresa May's tough Brexit talk drives sterling to a two-month low

More good news for online shoppers and bad news for Irish exporters...

Theresa May's tough Brexit talk drives sterling to a two-month low

David Cheskin / PA

The pound has fallen to its lowest level against the US dollar for two months after remarks by Theresa May appeared to indicate that the UK is preparing for a "hard Brexit".

Sterling was down by more than a cent at just over $1.21, its lowest level since 25 October.

It was also more than a cent lower against the euro at just over €1.15.

The decline follows comments by the Prime Minister in an interview with Sky News that Britain could not hang on to "bits of EU membership."

Mrs May also insisted that the UK would be "working to get the best possible deal in the trading relationship with the European Union".

But currency markets appeared to interpret the remarks as making it less likely that the UK could retain access to the single market after Brexit.

The pound plunged to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 after Britain voted in June to leave the European Union.

It is now about 19% lower than its level just before the referendum result became clear.

The currency has been volatile since the vote as markets seize on any clues about the nature of Brexit.

Indications of a "hard" Brexit have tended to weaken the pound while suggestions that the UK could retain access to the European single market have bolstered it.

This could be bad news for Irish exporters as their goods become more expensive for UK buyers - but it also means that Irish visitors to the UK will continue to save, as will online shoppers buying from British websites.