Trade investment group welcomes region’s export figures

West Midlands lead national export orders increase.

The head of UK Trade & Investment in the West Midlands has welcomed the latest figures published this week, which show the region had the largest quarter-on-quarter increases in export orders.

The Trade Confidence Index, which measures the volume of trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce, reveals that the West Midlands surpassed the national average with a 7.4% increase in trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce in Q1 2016 compared with the previous quarter.

Commenting on the figures, which are published in the latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce and DHL, Christine Hamilton, interim director of UKTI West Midlands, said: “I’m very pleased to see that the volume of export documents increased in the West Midlands in the first quarter of 2016 and it demonstrates that businesses in the region continue to push ahead with their plans to expand their export operations.

“We know from our day-to-day dealings with companies across all six areas of the West Midlands region* that even the smallest businesses have real drive in wanting to export their goods and services – and there is demand for what they can sell across the world.

“These ambitious companies understand that entering the global market will help them to thrive, enable them to grow and will secure jobs in their areas. Thanks to the raft of support from organisations such as UKTI and the Chambers of Commerce, these businesses are rising to the export challenge.”

According to the QITO report, the Trade Confidence Index nationally rose by 1.4% in Q1 2016, compared with the previous quarter, to stand at an index of 116.04 in Q1 2016. However, in annual terms there was a decline of 4.4% on Q1 2015.

During the same period, ONS data and the BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey have shown that economic growth softened across the UK.

The key findings from the report are:

· The largest quarter-on-quarter increases in export document volumes were in the West Midlands (7.4%), South West (6.9%), and the North West (6.5%)

· BCC data shows that the balance of manufacturers reporting improved export sales rose to +8% in Q1 2016 from +1% the previous quarter, and export orders growth rose to +8% in Q1 2016 from +1% in Q4 2015

· The balance of services firms reporting improved export sales over the past three months fell to +13% in Q1 2016 from +15% in Q4 2015, and export orders growth rose to +16% in Q1 2016 from +9% in Q4 2015.