Why UK Should Fear Global Commodity Slump

The U.K. economy is not immune from the effects of a global decline in commodity prices, business leaders told CNBC Thursday.

John Cridland, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), told CNBC Europe’s Squawk Box that the fall in commodity prices, from oil and gold to aluminum and iron ore, does impact the U.K.

“Let’s remember we’re an island with a 65 million population in a really important global world so we need to think about the global impact (of the fall in commodity prices). These downside risks to the global economy matter for the U.K. economy.”

His comments come after several reports of U.K. manufacturing closures amid the slump in global demand for commodities, largely on the back of the slowdown in China’s economy.

A lack of demand has caused raw material prices to fall, hitting commodity-dependent economies hard as it makes the extraction and export of such materials unviable.

For the U.K. specifically, while a drop in the price of commodities such as oil has been a boon to the government as it gives consumers more money to spend elsewhere, the decline in commodity prices has damaged the last remaining vestiges of U.K. manufacturing hard.

Earlier in the week, it was announced that the SSI Redcar steelworks in northern England were to be closed, leading to the loss of 2,200 jobs and the conclusion of 98 years of steel production at the site. Meanwhile, the North Sea oil industry, largely based off the coast of Scotland with many workers living in the city of Aberdeen, is also suffering amid a slump in oil prices which have fallen from a peak of $114 a barrel in June 2014 to currently trade around $50 a barrel. Some analysts believe 10,000 jobs could be at risk in the U.K.’s oil industry as a result.


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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam