I’m currently visiting London, and thanks to the turmoil on the foreign exchange markets I feel about as rich as Rockefeller. The British pound, which in 2007 cost $2.11, is now hovering around $1.11. At one point the pound plunged toward actual parity, as the new British government announced financial measures that caused a crash in sterling and in British government bonds.
Everything here seems cheap to me. A friend here is a Conservative member of Parliament. I sent him an email, asking him to thank new Prime Minister Liz Truss and new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng for me personally. I haven’t heard back. Remarkably, even Apple’s
newest iPhones now cost less to buy in London than in New York, Los Angeles, or even in places in America with no sales tax, thanks to these crazy exchange rates. The top of the line iPhone 14 Pro Max with 1 terabyte of storage will cost you $1,599 stateside, but will cost U.S. visitors to the U.K. only $1,460 once they reclaim the national sales tax, known as VAT or Value Added Tax, when they leave the country. (The British government has just restored this sales break for tourists.) That’s not a huge savings, but it’s astonishing that there is any savings at all: …