The fallout from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union could lead to “anti-British” sentiment in the international scrap metals market in the short-term, according to Peter Mathews chairman of Black Country Metals.
Mr Mathews was speaking at the Metals Recycling Event at Donington Park, near Derby on Wednesday (July 13) – where he led a panel session on export markets which included presentations from Chris Rodriguez, purchase executive of Anbakam Metals and Jane Waldron, international trade advisor at UK Trade and Investment.
However, despite his warning of an impact on trade in the short term, looking ahead, Mr Mathews insisted that there would be no dramatic long-term effect on the demand for scrap from the UK as a result of the EU referendum decision.
Mr Mathews added that the UK exports close to 80% of its scrap metal for processing overseas.
He added: “I have traded in Europe for over 40 years. I have been back to the continent since the referendum vote, and our European friends think we are a bit mad. The Germans feel we have let them down by leaving the EU.
“There may be some anti-British sentiment in the short-term, especially in countries where Brexit has an impact on their markets. However, I do not believe there will be any long-term issues.
“When I originally started out in the industry, we used to import a lot of our scrap metal from the United States – we now export 80% of our shredded scrap to the world. We have a product that emerging markets need.”
Also speaking in the session, Mr Rodriguez from US-based Anbakam said that there is still likely to be a long term demand for scrap from the UK, and added that the strengthening of the US Dollar compared to the pound could aid this.
Ms Waldron ended the session by urging UK metals recyclers to take advantage of the opportunities available to them overseas.
She added: “On our website recently there were 80 export opportunities for the metal sector.
“What we do as a global organisation is we match up businesses to exporting opportunities, we promote the benefits of exporting to other markets and we help businesses to develop their exporting strategies.”