West Midlands bucks national trend with increase in exports

West Midlands bucks national trend with increase in exports

The value of goods exported by companies in the West Midlands rose in the first quarter of 2016 according to figures published today, bucking the national trend which saw the value of UK exports decline.

The value of exports from businesses in the West Midlands rose to £7.6bn in the first quarter of this year, up by 3% from £7.3bn in the first quarter of 2015.

By contrast, there was a 2.6% decrease in the value of exports across the UK as a whole.

The West Midlands was one of only three regions in England to record a rise, alongside the South East and the South West.

There was also a 1% rise in the number of companies in the West Midlands exporting to overseas markets, which grew from 4,675 in the first quarter of last year to 4,721 in the first three months of this year.

Almost 45% of exports by value from companies in the West Midlands were to EU markets, 21% were to Asia and Oceania and 21% to North America.

Machinery and transport exports accounted for almost 75% of exports by value.

Mark Taylor, regional managing partner at RSM in Birmingham, said: ‘The decline in exports nationally is disappointing but today’s numbers are very encouraging for the West Midlands.

“If you look across the English regions, only the West Midlands and the South West recorded both a rise in the number of exporters and a rise in export values in the first quarter of this year.

“While it’s certainly true that exporting does incur upfront costs and risks, there are great opportunities for companies prepared to take the plunge and lots of available support.”

Gary Burton, HSBC’s Regional director of corporate banking for the Midlands, said:

"It’s great to see West Midlands exporters defy the national trend and increase the value of exports in the year ending March 2016.

"In addition, West Midlands saw an increase in the number of exporting businesses (1%), demonstrating an appetite amongst companies to take their business beyond the UK.

"The region now accounts for 11 per cent of the country’s total exports, equivalent to London and behind only the South East. 

“British businesses that trade overseas play a critical role in rebalancing the UK economy and ultimately creating diverse opportunities for businesses and employment in the local area.

"As one of the fastest growing regional economies, the West Midlands is doing notably well and its contribution is equal to that of London."