The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), in partnership with DHL, has produced its Quarterly International Trade Outlook (QITO) for Q3 – July to September – 2018
The QITO report is based on survey and documentation data from more than 2,600 UK exporters and is designed to give British businesses a better understanding of international opportunities, with a focus on dynamic new markets. It also features a Trade Confidence Index, which measures the UK’s exporting health by analysing trends in the volume of trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce.
The findings of the Q3 2018 Outlook indicate that exporters continue to hold steady performance. Many exporters are performing well but economic and political factors are having an impact on their operations. Firms remain confident that export sales and turnover will increase over the next twelve months, with 38 per cent of exporting manufacturers enjoying an increase in export orders over the last three months.
Labour shortage continues to be the top concern. Exporters in manufacturing and service firms are reporting difficulties finding the right staff. In Q3 69 per cent of exporting manufacturers and 54 per cent of exporting service firms attempted to recruit; 76 per cent and 69 per cent of exporting manufacturers and exporting service firms said they faced challenges recruiting the right staff.
The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the volume of trade documentation issued nationally, fell by 3.9 per cent on the quarter. The Index now stands at 120.42.
Commenting on the findings, Ian Wilson, DHL Express UK & Ireland CEO, said the QITO report does show how uncertainty around the world can have an impact on businesses: “Resolution of the Brexit negotiations is critical to allow businesses to move forward; the facilitation of continued smooth and simple trade with the EU is paramount.”
Claire Walker and Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Directors of Policy and Campaigns for British Chambers of Commerce, said: “the uncertainty of Brexit continues to weigh on many, as does currency fluctuations and global trade turmoil […] that said, UK businesses are resilient, and many exporters continue to perform strongly in the current circumstances”
“Our latest research shows that half of businesses would advise the government to prioritise future trade with the EU, compared to a third who would prioritise trade outside the EU. Given the importance of Europe as a trading partner the BCC believes the UK government’s focus should be securing significant levels of market access British business currently have before undertaking new agreements around the world.”
Trade and Economic Outlook
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded its outlook for the global economy for 2018 and 2019 to 3.7 per cent from its previous 3.9 per cent forecast.
The British Chambers of Commerce currently expect that the UK economy will grow by 1.1 per cent in 2018, by 1.3 per cent in 2019 and by 1.6 per cent in 2020.
The World Trad Organisation (WTO) forecasts global growth of 3.9 per cent this year and 3.7 in 2019, in line with the IMF.
The Q3 2018 QITO report includes fact sheets for the USA, Canada, and South Mexico. Each fact sheet includes an economic snapshot, opportunities for UK businesses, market strengths, cultural tips, and Customs tips.
Read the full Q3 2018 QITO here