Curtis Wool Direct

UK wool industry after Brexit

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The decision for Britain to exit the EU has come as a surprise to many outside the UK. But now that the vote has been cast in favour of an exit economists predict some major economic consequences. So, what will it mean for the UK wool industry?

 

Of course it is probably too early to say but a weak pound will be a benefit to wool exports.

 

‘The weak Sterling, should in the short to medium term, assist carpet manufactures and spinners with operations here in the UK, when exporting to the USA and Europe’, says Paul S. Hughes director at Standard Wool UK. ‘The USA market, we are told, is a key market for industrial/contract work where the business has recently been stable. If global fears of a recession are eased and demand continues then we hope demand in this sector will provide opportunities to our customers here in the UK and overseas.’

 

The UK domestic market, comments Mr Hughes, ‘is still a consumer of carpet, however the retail sector has been relatively poor over recent months, we do not feel this will improve in the short term and concerns within the UK housing market remain a real threat as historically, less house movement equals less carpet sold.’

 

 

Martin Curtis says ‘the U.K. buys huge quantities of goods from the EU and I cannot imagine any European country not wanting to maintain strong trading links with us. Equally, we export many goods and services to Europe and I don’t see that changing’.

 

Mr Curtis is past director at Curtis Wool Direct and currently involved in the Wool Carpet Focus Group, a new organization formed to promote Britain’s wool carpets. ‘I think there are mixed views among the members of the Wool Carpet Focus Group as to whether the UK should have remained in the European Union or if we did right in deciding to leave.’

 

Mr Curtis further comments that ‘if the value of the pound remains weaker it will make carpet exports more competitive and could be a boost to business. Imports will become more expensive which can be a good thing for UK manufacturers even if it could make prices of imported goods higher in the shops.

 

The UK wool carpet industry supplies mainly to the domestic market and that will not be hugely affected. Some UK carpet manufacturers export overseas and there could be some reaction there if trade arrangements change but that will be two or more years into the future. ‘There is time to ensure we get everything sorted out’, he says.

 

‘The Brexit may give us fresh opportunities to open new trade agreements with countries that in the “old days” used to be difficult logistically to get goods to but the whole world is nowadays much easier to trade with. Shipping has become a very efficient industry.’

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