Better news on the export front
1 September 2016
The latest CBI monthly Industrial Trends Survey sounds a reassuring note amidst some post-Brexit gloom with the survey of 505 firms showing that export order books have reached a two-year high.
This suggests, the CBI said, that the depreciation of sterling since the end of last year may be feeding through to create stronger overseas demand.
However, Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Analysis and Surveys, repeats the warning made by a number of economists — the pound’s weakness is a double-edged sword, as it benefits exporters but also pushes up costs and prices.
“The most significant effects of the vote to leave the EU will flow over the medium to long-term,” she pointed out. “Therefore firms need to see ambitious decisions in the Autumn Statement that will secure the UK’s economic future as changes to trade, regulation and access to skills loom on the horizon.”
Looking at the detail of the survey, chemical manufacturers accounted for just over half the improvement in export orders, with fewer than one-third of the 17 manufacturing sub-sectors reporting export orders at below normal levels.
Overall, 21% of businesses reported export orders to be above normal and 27% below, resulting in a balance of –6%, the highest since August 2014 (–3%).
Total order books were largely unchanged but remained comfortably above the long-run average, the CBI noted.
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