West Midland exports shot up in the second half of 2005, offsetting the impact of a weak domestic economy, according to the latest Business in Britain survey from Lloyds TSB Corporate.
Assisted by the decreasing strength of the pound and strong growth in overseas markets, businesses enjoyed a bumper six months, with 42 per cent reporting higher exports, and just 23 per cent suffering a fall.
However the increase is still three per cent less than the national average as the region continues to claw its way back from the MG Rover crisis.
The highest performing region was the South-east; Wales was the worst.
Forty per cent of those surveyed increased turnover. Twenty-seven per cent of companies reported a decrease.
The import market in the West Midlands also performed well, with half of firms notching an increase, and only 15 per cent a decline.
Fifty-nine per cent expect to increase their overseas purchasing in the next six months, compared to just nine per cent that will buy less.
The increase in imports could be a result of two factors, according to Keith Simpson, who heads Lloyds TSB Corporate's commercial business in Birmingham.
He said: "Whilst a rise in imports is often seen as a negative, there is a more positive slant. The increase in turnover and exports demonstrates that firms are selling more goods, which has resulted in them having to buy in more from overseas. The increased cost of raw materials could also mean businesses are buying goods earlier at a lower price, rather than waiting for costs to rise."
The last six months of 2005 had been a fillip for companies in the West Midlands after a bleak start to the year.
"The previous report came after the collapse of MG Rover, and the West Midlands is still recovering from this," he said.