Monday, August 8, 2011

Export Freight Survey Shows Improvement But Lack Of Confidence

New Index Analyses Condition of UK Trade
Shipping News Feature

UK – Today saw the launch of a new measure of the export status of the country with the first quarterly issue of the DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index which concludes that despite weak UK GDP growth in Q2 2011, export levels continue to grow albeit at a slower rate than earlier this year. On the negative side the report gives a confirmation that all sectors of the British export freight industry are reluctant to both recruit and invest in what they consider a bleak economic outlook.

The Index draws upon a survey of over a thousand exporters and an analysis of export documentation (except for freight exported to other EU countries). This non EU trade documentation data in Q2 2011 shows a 3.6% increase on the same quarter last year (and is at the second highest level since Q3 2008), suggesting that companies’ export sales continue to grow but there is reticence to invest in staff and equipment due to international economic uncertainty.

The index also reveals regional differences, with the number of export documents for goods issued in London, South East and North West running far ahead of many other regions, including the North East of England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Commenting on the results of the index, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“There is a disconnection between the strong performance of exporting firms and their lack of confidence when it comes to investing and creating jobs. An uncertain economic outlook, with concerns surrounding Eurozone debt and a fragile UK recovery, means many businesses are holding back on investment decisions - despite seeing strong export sales and orders in recent months. Cashflow is still a real problem for exporters, particularly smaller firms, and the results show that there are regions of the UK that lag behind when it comes to exporting outside the EU.

“The UK’s economic recovery relies on exporting and investment. Government must help British business to have the confidence to export and invest – and ensure that support schemes designed to help new and growing exporters are easy to access and easy to understand.”

The report has been prepared by DHL and the British Chambers of Commerce and can be seen in its entirety HERE.