Insight: Steel sectors weigh possible Brexit scenarios

How the UK and, more broadly, European metals and steel sectors might be impacted by Tuesday’s UK Parliamentary vote on Brexit is still unclear.

The vote may determine whether the UK leaves the European Union with or without a trade deal, whether there will be a new referendum on Brexit or a transition period to exit.

The London Metal Exchange on Monday put out positive notes: stressing that the LME and its clearing house LME Clear will remain in London. The exchange announced in a statement Monday that LME Clear is “confident that it will be able to continue to provide clearing services to all members following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union,” as a result of a European Commission’s equivalence decision made December 19.

“The LME is taking steps to ensure continued access to LME systems for all its EU member firms,” the LME said Monday.

Uncertainty persists however on whether UK companies will follow EU or other regulations, for instance those of the World Trade Organization. The Minor Metals Trade Association points out that this is a serious problem as regards the EU’s newly-introduced REACH legislation, which obliges companies to register the import and trade of what the EU regards as potentially hazardous chemicals, including some metals oxides, usage of which may be banned if they are not registered: it is unclear if UK companies will need to abide by the stringent REACH rules if Brexit occurs.