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Exporters report stark worsening in sales and orders - British Chambers

15 November 2019

A majority of UK manufacturing exporters are reporting a stark worsening in sales and orders, with indicators showing a substantial drop compared to 2017 and 2018 levels.

The Quarterly International Trade Outlook for Q3 2019, released by British Chambers of Commerce and DHL today, reveals that indicators for exporting manufacturers in Q3 2019 have undergone large declines, with several key indicators for orders and cashflow now in negative territory.

The percentage balance of exporting manufacturers reporting an increase in export orders fell to –1 per cent, down from +9 in the previous quarter.

The balance of those reporting increased domestic orders fell to -4 per cent in Q3, down from +8 per cent in Q2. 

The balance of exporting manufacturers reporting improved cash flow stood at -5 per cent in Q3, down from +6 per cent in Q2. In Q3 2018, one year ago, the balance stood at +13. 

While exporting manufacturers saw large declines across the QITO indicators, the exporting services sector also saw indicators well below historical levels.

In Q3 +8 per cent of exporting service sector firms reported an increase in domestic orders, down from +12 per cent in Q2. 

A balance of zero per cent reported an increase in export orders, down from +5.  

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 most 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.”

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