Brexit, the Falling Pound and the Price of Paper – UPDATED

Whether you voted to Leave or Remain in the European Union, the UK as a whole voted to leave and ‘Brexit’ is firmly on the horizon. This decision is already starting to affect the price of paper and therefore the traditional graphic design, marketing and print industry in the UK.

With the pound falling on the global currency markets and uncertainty over the long-term effects of Brexit, the price of paper is rising – and rising fast. Industry experts are warning of possible ‘double digit’ rises if the pound fails to recover.  Most of the paper used in the UK is imported, with the majority coming from paper mills in continental Europe.

Merchants in the UK have already written to buyers warning of likely increases on the horizon in the range of 4-7%. Traditional graphic design agencies and marketing companies, who derive a significant proportion of their revenue from print, should be ready for the impending price rises. These price adjustments will likely commence in November 2016, on certain paper products. The remainder of the increases will arrive in January 2017 when many existing fixed rate supply agreements will terminate.

These price adjustments will likely commence in November 2016, on certain paper products. The remainder of the increases will arrive in January 2017 when many existing fixed rate supply agreements will terminate.

Our own design and print estimates carry the following disclaimer: “Important Note: All prices quoted are based on material prices quoted on that day and will be subject to confirmation if an order is placed. This is due to the volatile nature of the paper markets.” Now may be the right time for others in the print design and marketing industry follow suit and protect themselves from possible severe and immediate paper price rises.

Whilst the short term effects could be significant, there is potentially light at the end of the tunnel. Leaving the EU will allow UK paper buyers to purchase paper from the worldwide market without  suppliers from outside the EU being hit with crippling tariffs. Brexit could create an open market for paper buyers in the UK, ultimately leading to cheaper prices for all.

UPDATED – 14th December 2016

Major paper suppliers are now warning that paper prices in the UK will increase by up to 10% from Monday 16th January 2017. Overseas paper suppliers are citing a rise in input costs, economic volatility and the unsustainable levels of return in the UK market as reasons for these increases. Printing and digital grade paper, office products, self-adhesive, recycled grades, envelopes, speciality grades and certain packaging, visual communication and graphical board products are all likely to be affected.