UK exporters see further growth ahead

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Export orders and confidence are still rising among UK exporters, according to the DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index, a new survey which covers more than 1,000 exporters.

The balance of exporters that believed their turnover and profitability would improve over the next twelve months improved in Q2 2011. Firms’ confidence in increasing turnover rose from +41 per cent to +46 per cent, and their confidence in increasing profitability rose from +17 per cent to +28 per cent.

Trade documentation data in Q2 2011 shows a 3.6 per cent 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.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “There is a disconnect 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.”

And Phil Couchman, chief executive of DHL Expresssaid: ““It is encouraging though to see an expectation for growth among UK exporters, albeit a conservative figure. It shows that these businesses are taking steps to drive the recovery and out-perform the recession, with indicators suggesting that they are confident of improving turnover and profitability over the next 12 months.”

* Martyn Pellew, the former group development director at PD Ports, has just been appointed president of the British Chambers of Commerce.

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