Brummie exporters enjoy a sensational summer

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Brummie exporters enjoy a sensational summer

Exporters in the Greater Birmingham area have enjoyed a “sensational summer” according to the latest economic survey by the Chamber of Commerce.

The latest quarterly economic report Greater Birmingham has revealed that businesses in the region, particularly in manufacturing, have shaken off any Brexit blues to launch a concerted campaign to win business abroad.

A total of 49% of manufacturing firms experienced increased overseas sales – a two-year high since the 50% recorded in Q3 2015.

Service sector firms also pitched in with 32% reporting a sales increase – the highest figures since the final quarter last year.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the GBCC, said: “This is a tremendous performance by our exporters. They have shown remarkable resilience to battle against many obstacles, including fluctuations in exchange rates.

“This amounts to a sensational summer for Greater Birmingham’s exporters and the Chamber’s International Hub has played its part by giving businesses invaluable guidance on how to secure overseas sales.”

Confidence also remained high across all sectors with 65% of manufacturers expected to increase turnover in the next 12 months, while 51% predicted an increase in profits.

In the service sector confidence was even higher with 70% confident they would improve turnover and 59% thinking that profitability would increase.

Hiring dropped off in the manufacturing sector with 25% reporting an increase in their workforce, down from 32% recorded in Q2.

This was offset by a greater percentage of service firms adding to their workforce over the last three months with 31% reporting an increase opposed to 29% in Q2.

Conversely, 77% of manufacturers said they had faced recruitment difficulties –  the highest figure since Q4 2015.

However, a lower number of service firms reported recruitment difficulties compared to the last quarter with 59% this quarter against 68% last quarter.

Competition was the biggest concern among service firms whereas the primary worry among manufacturers was around exchange rates.

Paul added: “The results continue to underline the strong foundations which underpin our regional economy.

“In particular, it was great to see firms in both sectors maintaining strong levels of growth in both domestic and international demand.

“Within the manufacturing sector, the positive growth levels reported were offset by concerns around adding to their workforce and finding people with the right skillset to fill the jobs available.

“Once again, this shows the need for the Government to embed a policy programme which will tackle ingrained skills deficiencies and to come up with a plan which will allow our firms to access to the best talent both home and abroad.

 “I’m optimistic that local firms will channel this positivity to ensure our region continues to thrive and fulfil its true economic potential.”

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is one of the UK’s oldest and largest Chambers.

It has nearly 3,000 member companies that employ over 200,000 plus affiliate organisations representing 15,000 people.

It offers extensive services to industry and commerce, having served the interests of business for three centuries, promoting trade locally, nationally and internationally.