Second study confirms export growth is at lowest level since 2009

Scotland only part of UK to experience an increase in export performance, with business trade confidence having dropped 4.6% on the previous quarter

Export growth has fallen to its lowest level since 2009 despite orders and sales remaining constant for around half of UK businesses, according to DHL’s latest quarterly International Trade Outlook – the second study this week to confirm a decrease in export orders.

The proportion of exporters reporting a decrease in sales rose from 15% in the second quarter of 2015 to 21% in the third quarter of 2015, while 22% saw a decrease in orders – up from 17%.

This is thought to be the result of economic uncertainty around emerging markets and continuing problems in the Eurozone.

The report also found that exporter confidence has fallen with 13% of small and medium exporters expecting a decrease in revenues (6% more than in April-June 2015) while 16% predict a decline in profits.

Scotland is the only part of the UK to witness an increase in export performance, rising by 2.2%, while Wales (-13.3%), London (-7.8%) and Northern Ireland (-7.4%) have seen the biggest declines in overseas trade.

Overall, the Trade Confidence Index – which measures the volume of trade documentation issued nationally and business confidence – has seen a drop of 4.6% on the second quarter of 2015.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Driving export growth is key to reducing the UK’s deficit and maintaining our global competitiveness. These figures make it clear that the UK’s export drive is at risk of going into reverse gear, precisely at the time when it needs to be moving forward.

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“Many firms are currently operating at capacity and are in need of support to invest in machinery or staff. Those businesses considering taking the leap and breaking into new markets desperately need access to the growth funding and working capital to enable this transformation.”


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