The one topic that has dominated the national conversation since June 23rd is the EU referendum result and the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. To cover this momentous decision, I have set up a dedicated EU Referendum area on this website which will chart the course of this subject with independent opinion, analysis, industry reports and business leader comments. Click here to view that and all related content on the matter.
But much has been made of the economic impact the result is now having on the British economy. The headlines to come out of the result are volatile stock markets and Sterling depreciating in value. On the morning of the result the FTSE 100 dropped 700 points, but has since recovered to pre-Brexit highs. The FTSE 250, which is a more British based company index suffered a steeper drop but has mostly recovered it’s losses, with just a little more ground left to gain. The pound however has continue to bump around the bottom, hitting 31 year lows.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England has said in a press conference this week that some of the threats brought on by Brexit are starting to “crystallize” and have an impact on the real economy. So the question for our industry is simple: are you feeling it yet?
Anecdotally, I am hearing mixed reports from various companies around the UK. People at certain manufacturers have reported a “softening” of business in the past few weeks. I’ve heard some businesses in our industry are now scaling back investment and there were at least four mergers and acquisitions set to go through pre-Brexit but are now most probably on ice until things blow over.
Alternatively, at our place in Wakefield, we haven’t really seen much of a difference. It was quiet in the immediate aftermath of the result, but I suspect that was down to home owners being glued to their screens as the news sunk in. As of now, it’s business as usual.
I do get the sense though that any effects on our industry’s businesses may be regional, based on how areas voted.
For example, Yorkshire voted heavily to leave the EU, which means a lot of people will be happy with the result. So despite the wobbles in the markets and currencies, their medium term outlook should be fairly positive, which may explain why we haven’t really seen any dramatic dip in business. In fact we have just had one of our best weeks so far this year.
In areas that voted to remain, say in Scotland, London, some of the home counties, they may experience a dip due to the now pessimistic and anxious outlook of home owners in those regions.
So whilst it’s fair to say there has been some volatility in the past two weeks, I would say that it’s certainly not spread equally throughout the UK. Well that’s how I see it anyway.
To try and get some sense of how the industry is now feeling and performing, I have created a poll below that is open to all companies in the UK fenestration sector. I’ll also use it as a pop-up poll which will run for a few weeks until it gets enough votes to produce a set of results from.
My gut instinct is that when I decide to close the poll, the industry may be feeling a little more conservative than it did pre-Brexit. But I think the worst thing to do would be for home owners and companies to suddenly turn the taps of on spending and investment. If that is allowed to happen then I can see the UK talking itself into a recession rather than fighting to prevent one.
Time will tell on that front. But before you go read something else on DGB, please spend a second and take part in this poll.
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