Today's trade data once again showed exports have continued to decline. Exports in the three months to February 2014 were down £1.8 billion or 2.5% on the preceding three months. The chart below shows that, since the middle of 2013, we have seen exports and indeed imports begin to taper off.Trade tapering since mid-2013Three monthly trade data, £millionSource: National Statistics
Looking a bit more in depth shows that this has been a relatively widespread trend. In the three months to Feb 2014 compared with preceding three months
- Commodities sustaining the largest falls in exports were semi manufactured goods (excluding chemicals) and precious stones.
- Chemicals was the only commodity which saw a small rise in export values.
- Exports to both EU and Non-EU markets fell, but imports to both geographical areas fell further resulting in a narrowing of the trade deficit.
This data reinforces the importance of supporting UK exporters, such as through the series of events that are running as part of export week which runs from the 7th to the 11th April. Export week provides a great source of information for businesses through a series of seminars, trade workshops, targeted market days, intellectual property and marketing workshops which are held around the country.For more information on the journey to exporting, EEF, in conjunction with Barclays, recently published a report Tracking the Export Journey
, which explores the process and steps manufacturers go through when seeking to export to a new market. Exporting takes a lot of time and effort by a company but the payoffs in terms of growth can be large. Today's data highlights the importance of Government support and backing for exporting.