Quarterly International Trade Outlook gloomy for manufacturing exports

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Quarterly International Trade Outlook
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The Quarterly International Trade Outlook for quarter three 2019, published by the British Chambers of Commerce and DHL shows a slide in manufacturing exports. Anna Tobin reports

The percentage balance of exporting manufacturers who reported an increase in export orders fell to –1% in the Quarterly International Trade Outlook for quarter 3, 2019. This was down from +9% in the previous quarter. The balance of those reporting increased domestic orders fell to -4% in quarter three, down from +8% in quarter two.

The balance of exporting manufacturers reporting improved cash flow was -5% in quarter three, this fell from +6% in quarter two. As an annual comparison, in quarter three 2018, the balance stood at +13%.

Referring to the Quarterly International Trade Outlook for quarter three 2019, BCC director general Adam Marshall said: “A strong and balanced economy needs healthy exporters at its core. But while there are some companies bucking the trend, future sales and orders are now well into negative territory, after a steady downward trend in export performance this year.

“On top of Brexit uncertainty and global trade tensions, election turbulence won’t be helping. The next administration will need to move fast to restore confidence, with action to upgrade infrastructure, boost skills and cut business costs. Without urgent clarity around our future trading relationship with the EU, firms across the UK will increasingly struggle to fill order books, and jobs and prosperity in many of our communities could be at risk.”

Vice president of marketing at DHL Express, Shannon Diett, added: “Whether expanding to new markets within the EU or elsewhere in the world, diversifying the portfolio of countries in which you operate will help stabilise your business in the coming months and provide a future engine for growth. In this regard a number of non-traditional markets, such as Sweden and Japan present a significant opportunity for UK exporters.

“Working with logistics providers to ensure the transition to any new trade arrangement is as smooth as possible will be vital for exporters looking to mitigate the uncertainty and thrive into the future. Along with broadening exposure to more markets, taking simple actions like ensuring you are electronically transmitting your customs documentation or sharing your EORI number with your shipper is advisable regardless the ultimate outcome.”

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