Export sales are continuting to keep the wolf from the door in the West Midlands’ economy – but the eurozone remains a dark cloud on the horizon, according to new research.
Exports in the region were up 12 per cent on last quarter and 10 per on the same quarter last year, but the European crisis is overshadowing the trade boost.
The findings were revealed in the fifth DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the UK’s exporting health, which shows businesses in the West Midlands outperforming the rest of the UK.
But the survey said: “While the report, which draws on a survey of over a thousand exporters and an analysis of export documentation demonstrates overall export growth, figures have indicated that 40 per cent of firms stated that exchange rates were a concern, showing the eurozone crisis’s continued impact on business confidence.
“Furthermore, a net balance of just +21 per cent of firms felt profitability would increase in the coming 12 months, down from +30 per cent the previous quarter, with falling profitability expectations across all firm sizes.”
Phil Couchman, chief executive of DHL Express UK and Ireland, said: “SMEs’ concerns around exchange rates and profitability highlight that there is still more to be done in terms of support for British businesses who are venturing into overseas markets.
“But recent export figures, such as those reported in the West Midlands, are strong, and there is reason to believe that the “super summer” – a once in a lifetime opportunity that will put British businesses firmly in the spotlight – could present a fantastic opportunity to make inroads internationally.
“To sustain momentum, businesses large and small should start thinking now about how best to serve this international audience once the events are over, by initiating an export programme for their goods and services to reach that target market.”
But the survey warned that concerns over the Eurozone had increased in the last quarter with events in Greece and Spain.