Michael Rawlinson, CEO of the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), has said the news of the UK’s vote to leave the EU is going to “take some time to settle in”.
In a dramatic night in political history, the UK voted to leave the EU with the Leave campaign edging the Referendum with 51.9% of the votes (17,410,742), while Remain received 48.1% (16,141,241).
Rawlinson said: “The country has voted to leave the EU. The full effect of this news is going to take some time to settle in and for our industry to absorb as it will for the country, generally.
“On this day of the decision we can only speculate on what the long-term political landscape at home is going to look like or how Brussels will respond.”
He commented financial and commodity markets are in “turmoil”, stating the drop in value of the sterling against the US dollar will affect the prices of industry materials – including metals and gemstones – along with the price of imported jewellery.
He says this will be the case for the short term, but claims the industry will need to see how the economy settles over time and what the Referendum will mean for the longer term state of the industry.
However, the jewellery industry is “robust”, he said, and has trade successfully when the price of gold was much higher than it is today.
He added: “In the current market conditions, a weak pound will encourage the overseas tourist to return to our country.
“According to recent research by MasterCard, who see 16 million transactions per hour worldwide, this is a significant market our retail members can benefit from and thus support our manufacturers.
“As for the longer term future, we will have to step back, assess all the factors, and watch how the future develops.”