A raft of new research announced this week shows that exporting is rising significantly, with service exports at an all-time high according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
The latest BCC Quarterly Economic Survey, published during Export Week (7-11 April), has found that export orders and sales in services are at new all-time highs and many key manufacturing balances are also at record levels.
Key findings in the Q1 2014 survey include:
- for manufacturing and services, all the major Q1 balances are stronger than their long-term averages, and most are higher than their 2007 pre-recession levels;
- both export sales and orders in services surpassed their Q4 all-time highs: export sales (+38%) and export orders (+39%).
John Longworth, BCC director general, said: "We are brilliant at services and very successful at exporting our knowledge-based industries all over the world. In addition, our dynamic, high-value manufacturing sector is once again confounding expectations, and going from strength to strength. But more support is needed if we are to place the recovery on a sustainable, broader footing in the medium-term."
Meanwhile, new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that more SMEs than ever are looking to export. Its quarterly business index has found that a net balance of 24% of FSB members expect exports to rise in the next three months. The sectors most likely to export are manufacturing (42%), wholesale trade (41%), research and development (36%), engineering (34%) and digital/telecoms (25%).
John Allan, FSB national chairman, said: "The UK's export strategy must focus on matching a company's export potential to the right overseas market. The majority of our members still export to the eurozone but are increasingly looking to other dynamic markets such as China for opportunities."
Another new study – by Freelancer.co.uk – also shows that more people are setting up their own enterprises in 2014 and many are exporting. The survey of more than 300,000 UK SMEs shows a 23% rise in the number of people setting up small businesses since January. And the research found that many businesses are increasingly exporting to the United States, Australia, India, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.