Drive to boost UK exports “inadequate”
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) economic survey for the final three months of 2015 reveals that national export balances weakened for both the manufacturing and services sectors.
In the UK manufacturing sector, export balances fell to levels approaching stagnation; they are now not only well below their pre-recession levels in 2007, but also below their long term historical averages. The manufacturing balance for export sales fell by nine points in Q4 2015 to +1%, the lowest level since Q3 2009. The manufacturing balance for export orders also fell by nine points in Q4 2015 to +1%, also the lowest level since Q3 2009.
In the service sector, the balance for export sales fell by three points in Q4 2015 to +15%, the lowest level since Q4 2011. The balance of service firms reporting improved export orders fell by seven points in Q4 to +9%, also the lowest level since Q4 2011.
BCC chief economist, David Kern, comments: “Coming after relatively weak figures in our Q3 survey, the falling balances in Q4 highlight the risk that the pace of growth may slow further in the short term. The results also underscore the serious obstacles that the UK will face when trying to rebalance the economy towards net exports. While worsening global circumstances are the main impediment, the domestic drive towards boosting net exports is also inadequate.”