The British Chambers of Commerce, in conjunction with DHL, has launched its Quarterly International Trade Outlook for Q1 – January to March – 2015. The ‘QITO’ report is designed to give British businesses a better understanding of international opportunities with a Trade Confidence Index and other measures of the UK’s exporting condition as well as predictions for future economic developments with a focus on trade and country snapshots.
In his foreword to the document, Phil Couchman, DHL Express UK & Ireland’s CEO, highlights that this quarter’s findings are very encouraging: confidence levels among UK exporters reaching a record high. Manufacturing exporters were particularly confident and it is a very positive sign that many of them are considering overseas markets for growth.
The global demand for high quality British products is clearly at an all-time high, and Couchman encourages British businesses to make the most of this positive environment: “At DHL, we are confident in the future of the UK export market and we know from our customers that businesses can reap the rewards through export success. We must continue to support UK businesses so that they can realise their potential ambitions and lead the world in international trade.”
Confidence levels amongst manufacturing and service exporters continued to increase on the previous quarter and remain high when compared to previous years. In addition, exporters are more confident that their turnover and profitability will increase over the next 12 months.
The volume of trade documents issued continues to increase and the Q1 2015 figure is the highest on record. The index now stands at 121.43, which is an increase of 3.41 per cent on Q4 2014, and an increase of 3.76 per cent on the same quarter in 2014.
Britain’s regions and nations
The largest quarterly increase was recorded in the East Midlands (+21.38 per cent). This was followed by the West Midlands (+15.94 per cent) and the South West (+11.07 per cent).
During Q1 2015, the UK economy grew by 0.3 per cent; the service sector remains the key driver of UK economic growth. In addition, the US economy grew by over 0.2 per cent and China grew at an annual rate of 7.0 per cent.
The British Chambers of Commerce forecasts that UK exports will grow by 3.7 per cent and imports will grow by 2.3 per cent in 2015. The World Trade Organisation has updated its forecast for world trade growth in 2015 to 3.3 per cent.
The 2015 Q1 QITO includes market overviews for Brazil, China, Japan, Qatar, Turkey and the US, and a map with 24 global priority markets in terms of growth potential, influence and strategic importance for business.
Quantum Beauty Company (QBC) is known for hair care innovation all over the world. The company has made the transition from being a 100 per cent UK sales company to over 50 per cent of sales coming from exports. QBC currently exports its trademarked brands to over 40 countries.
Managing Director John Harley shares his advice and experience on starting to trade internationally: “Firstly we took exporting seriously, we received advice from UKTI and the Chamber; went on trade missions, attended seminars, received some funding and attended Chamber International Trade Workshops. The admin department was expanded and became experts on shipping, certification and legalisation.”