AFPM '19: Brexit casts a shadow on global chemicals business, including in Texas

Source: ICIS News

2019/03/24

SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)--Brexit, and the inexorable march to its execution with or without a trade deal between the UK and the EU, casts a shadow over US chemical markets, according to participants on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC)

Delays at the port of Dover, UK - 24 Jul 2016“What’s the latest?” a representative of a major oil company asked markets observers on the conference’s first day.

“Why can’t it be redone?” another asked.

Brexit, shorthand for Britain’s exit from the EU and its network of trade, immigration and other rules that have joined the continent as a Single Market since its founding in 1993.

The UK must replace its trade agreements with the EU, a renegotiation for its status as a non-member.

The government’s seeming inability to get an agreement that Parliament can approve has prompted worries of an exit from the EU without replacement trade agreements.

“If they go out without an agreement, who will ship anything to the UK? Who will buy from the UK?” a trader of plastics resins in international markets recently complained.

“It’s set to be a right mess.”

Those worries have contributed to a slowdown in global markets, and buyers at sellers at the IPC are trying to figure out how to hedge their bets against the worst in April, when the deadline hits.

“It could come and go and we won’t see any change and we will all wonder what we were worried about,” the representative of a major European chemical company, not based in the UK, said.

“Maybe it will be the big fizzle," it concluded.

Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC takes place on 24-26 March in San Antonio, Texas.

Pictured: Archive image of queues at the UK's Port of Dover to cross over to the EU; a potential no-deal Brexit has prompted fears for logistical mayhem
Picture source: Invicta Kent Media/REX/Shutterstock

Focus article by Bill Bowen