Today marks the beginning of Export Week. The theme of this year's export week is to "try something new", be that starting to export for the first time or encouraging companies to look into exporting to a new market.
Why is exporting so important?
- Exporting is vital to the health of the UK economy – over time we need to see long-term growth built on the stronger foundation of business investment and exports.
- Exporting is widespread – over one third of manufacturers export every year and more than one fifth of manufacturing output is directly exported.
- Exporting is good for business – exporters tend to be more strategic, have higher turnover, employ more people and, therefore, grow faster than non-exporters.
New Export Dashboard
Also today, EEF and the Telegraph have launched an export data dashboard, which will keep track of progress towards the Chancellor's target of raising exports to £1 trillion by 2020. While achieving the target will be challenging – requiring annual growth of more than 9% - just having the target is beneficial as it provides a focus for policy makers. We are seeing this drive behavioural change such as a greater focus from government on supporting and promoting exporting.
The dashboard, shown below, looks at a number of indicators and provides more of a nuanced picture of exporting than just looking at a single export number. As this article points out, these figures must be interpreted with care. Monthly figures can be volatile and so need to be read in context of the longer term trends, which have been pointing to exports increasing.
We will be updating the dashboard every month, so keep an eye out to see how the UK has been progressing on exports in the months ahead.