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UK chemical industry remains positive despite Brexit concerns

August 5, 2016
Chemical Value Chain

The chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom has maintained a positive outlook despite “significant concerns” about the impact of the country’s recent vote to leave the European Union, according to a recent survey by the Chemical Industries Association (CIA; London).

CIA’s second-quarter member company business survey shows that, looking one year ahead, 89% of CIA members expect R&D investment to stay the same or increase, 87% believe exports will stay the same or increase, and 80% anticipate that sales will stay the same or increase. “While some investment is expected to take a hit from Brexit uncertainty, three quarters of companies will maintain or increase capital investment expenditure, while 71% say that employment levels will reman the same or increase,” CIA says.

The survey, carried out after the 23 June EU referendum, highlights uncertainty over the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union and exchange rates as some businesses reign in investment, CIA says. But, on the positive side, CIA members believe there are opportunities for growth through expanded production capacity, new products coming online, and other operational improvements. The lower value of sterling is also expected to boost exports, although as a consequence import costs will increase, CIA says. The chemical and pharmaceutical sector is the United Kingdom’s largest manufacturing exporter with annual exports of about £50 billion, CIA says.

“It is right we acknowledge that we are in uncertain times while the country exits the European Union, but our survey shows that there is still confidence that the UK can be a good place to do business,” says CIA chief executive Steve Elliott.

By Ian Young

Source: Chemical Week

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