UK manufacturers turn to exports to fuel growth

Despite exchange rate challenges, 46% of British manufacturers have scaled their exports orders in the first quarter of 2015

British manufacturers are leading the way when it comes to exports, argues a new quarterly report published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL Express this week.

The survey, running since 2006 with more than 2,300 exporting businesses surveyed, found that 46% of manufacturers had increased exports orders and sales in the first quarter of 2015; compared to 36% in the final quarter of 2014.

The highest increase in exporting activity was recorded in the East Midlands, West Midlands and the South West.

In addition, 44% of exporting manufacturers had also increased their workforce across January to March of 2015 with the vast majority of these new jobs full-time positions.

Said to reflect the rising number of companies deciding to export overseas, the study also found exports growth had been achieved in spite of increasing pressure from higher exchange rates such as the rising pound against the euro.

Over half of the manufacturing firms surveyed (55%) said exchange rates were impacting their ability to trade globally, a marked increased on the 34% of respondents who reported issues in the same period last year.

John Longworth, director general of the BBC, said of the findings: “Manufacturers are turning to export markets abroad to fuel their growth ambitions as the slowdown in domestic growth persists.

“Encouragingly, the increase in export sales and orders has come about in spite of the rise in the pound against the euro over recent months – a credit to the strength and expertise of the UK’s manufacturing sector.

“Despite these positive figures, real progress towards eliminating the UK’s trade deficit remains elusive. At the heart of the new government’s agenda must be ambitious plans to improve the UK’s trade performance – we have to develop a pipeline of new exporters and help existing exporters break into new markets. Only then will the UK regain its position as a trading powerhouse and unlock future economic growth.




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