Every quarter, the British Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with DHL, launches the Quarterly International Trade Outlook. The document, ‘QITO’, includes a Trade Confidence Index and other measures of the UK’s exporting health, predictions for future economic developments with a focus on trade and country snapshots – all to give British businesses an even better understanding of international opportunities.
We are very excited to release the Quarterly International Trade Outlook for Q4 – October to December – 2014. In his foreword to the document, Phil Couchman, DHL Express UK & Ireland’s CEO, explains that there has been an increased confidence amongst UK exporters and that British businesses – particularly SMEs – who wish to expand internationally have a great opportunity to do so thanks to the country’s steady economic growth and improved trading conditions. He also stressed that understanding the resources available from the British Chamber of Commerce and DHL’s Export Advisor Service is the first step for these ambitious SMEs – “We must continue to strongly support these companies to ensure all UK businesses can realise their growth ambitions on a global stage” said Couchman.
There was an increase in the volume of trade documents issued on the quarter. The index stands at 117.43 in Q4 2014, representing a rise of 0.43 per cent on Q3 2014 and a rise of 4.21 per cent on the same quarter in 2013. The Q4 2014 figure is the third highest on record, which is really positive to see.
Britain’s regions and nations
The results were mixed across the regions and nations of the UK in Q4 2014. The highest increase was recorded in Wales (+12.5 per cent). This was followed by London (+9.1 per cent) and Yorkshire & the Humber (+8.2 per cent).
This is only a slight change from Q3’s results, where the top three regions were Wales, Scotland and Yorkshire & the Humber respectively.
Whilst UK GDP growth did slow in the fourth quarter of 2014, growth for the year was still positive at 2.6 per cent, which is the fastest growth rate since 2007.
In addition, growth in the US – the world’s largest consumer market – rebounded ahead of expectations. Economic growth remained above 2.5%, which is considered to be the economy’s potential.
The British Chambers of Commerce forecasts that UK imports will grow by 1.6 per cent and exports will grow by 1.9 per cent in 2015. Confidence levels amongst exporters have increased over the past 3 months, particularly in the manufacturing market, which will have contributed to the positive growth predictions.
Overall, the World Trade Organisation has actually reduced its forecast for world trade growth in 2015 to 4 per cent. This is in response to weaker than expected GDP growth and muted import demand in the first half of 2014.
The 2014 Q4 QITO includes market overviews for Japan, the Philippines, Algeria, Angola, New Zealand the US. The report also includes a map, which outlines 24 priority markets that have growth prospects and strategic importance for business.
ACS Office Solutions works in partnership with private and public sector organisations across the UK, delivering best-value solutions. When a prospective client in Kampala, Uganda, approached them about ordering some furniture, they were unsure of how to proceed.
Managing Director John Harley contacted his local Chambers International Trade Team, who provided valuable support. As a result, ACS executed the project on time and they now have more opportunities to export for the client in other countries.
“Businesses should not necessarily be shy of exporting. Initially I had seen the project in Uganda as a one-off, but I know think of exporting differently. We definitely want to export more in the future,” said Harley.