Newspapers Are Stockpiling Ink and Newsprint Against Brexit
With the political chaos of Brexit filling their column inches, British newspapers are now having to ensure the country’s drive to leave the European Union doesn’t leave them without enough paper and ink.
Publishers and paper manufacturers are stockpiling newsprint, ink and other supplies in case the U.K. crashes out of the EU in March without a deal. They want to avoid potential supply disruptions and to hedge against the risk that imported goods become more expensive if the pound weakens further.
“There are warehouses that are full to the gunwales” with paper, said Andrew Large, head of the Confederation of Paper Industries. Some of the trade group’s members are accumulating at least a month’s worth of supply, he said.
Publishers join supermarkets, manufacturers and others in stocking up, with the political system paralyzed over Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to get her Brexit agreement with the EU through Parliament on Tuesday intensified concerns from executives that the planned withdrawal on March 29 will be disorderly.
Britons voted in 2016 by a narrow margin to leave the EU, with 52 percent in favor. In the run up to the vote, the majority of newspaper articles taking a position on Brexit advocated for Britain to leave, according to research from the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute.
U.K. publishers are the world’s most reliant on imports of paper: 82 percent of the 3.8 million tonnes of graphic paper used annually by publishers of newspapers, books and stationery comes from abroad, with European Union member countries accounting for two-thirds of the supply.
Finnish manufacturer UPM-Kymmene Oyj said it has added an extra couple of weeks’ worth of paper-making chemicals at its plant in Shotton, Wales. Ink companies are also stockpiling an extra few weeks’ worth of supply, said Ellen Daniels, spokeswoman for the British Coatings Federation.