The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), in partnership with DHL, has produced its Quarterly International Trade Outlook (QITO) – January to March 2019.
The QITO report gives British businesses a better understanding of new markets and the international opportunities they create. The Trade Conference Index analyses trends in trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce and measures the UK’s exporting health.
The findings of the Q1 2019 QITO reveal a decrease in orders from UK exporters in the opening quarter of the year, with UK exporters reporting cashflow and confidence dipping too. However, the BCC expects UK exports to grow by 1.8 per cent in 2019 and 1.7 per cent in 2020. The Outlook also highlights the resilience of British businesses and their need for the government to outline how it will overcome any current uncertainty so that sales and confidence are not diminished further.
Measuring the volume of trade documentation issued nationally, the BCC/DHL Trade Conference Index (TCI) now stands at 124.04 which is a decrease of 1 per cent on Q4 2018 and a decrease of 2.3 per cent on Q1 of the previous year.
Shannon Diett, DHL Express UK & Ireland Vice President of Marketing, commented on the decline in export orders, cashflow and a fall in confidence regarding future exports. “These results highlight how critical it is for businesses trading internationally to have information and clarity in advance of the 31 October deadline.”
“Every day we witness the drive and creativity of UK businesses who prevail whatever the circumstances, and more than this, seize every opportunity for growth and global expansion. Exporting internationally can be challenging, but the rewards are clear, with those businesses exporting to a high number of countries outperforming the market. The UK has so many strong and inspirational companies that are succeeding and we must ensure that their growth is supported.”
Export sales and orders
One in five manufacturers and service firms saw their export order books decline in the first three months of the year. Two-thirds of exporting manufacturers said exchange rates were of greater concern to them than the previous three months. Exporters continue to report considerable price pressures, which is mainly driven by the cost of raw materials/
Trade and Economic Outlook
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its growth outlook for the global economy for 2019 to 3.3 percent, down from its previous forecast of 3.5 per cent.
The Eurozone economy grew by 0.4 per cent in Q1 2019, up from growth of 0.2 per cent recorded in the previous quarter. The UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent, up from the 0.2 per cent growth recorded in Q4 of 2018. The UK economy is expected to grow by 1.2 per cent in 2091, by 1.3 per cent in 202 and by 1.4 per cent in 2021.
The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.2 per cent in Q1 2019 compared to a growth of just 2.2 per cent in the previous quarter. In line with the government’s growth target of 6-6.5 per cent, China’s economy grew by 6.4 per cent.
The World Trade organisation currently forecasts world trade growth of 2.6 per cent this year and 1.4 per cent in 2021.
The Q1 2019 QITO report includes fact sheets for Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. Each fact sheet includes an economic snapshot, opportunities for UK businesses, market strengths, cultural tips and Customs tips.
Read the full Q1 2019 QITO here.