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Chamber Says NE Global Trade Figures Downturn ‘Alarming’

Jack Simpson, North East England Chamber of Commerce policy adviser said:

“While the downturn in regional global trade this quarter isn’t surprising, it is alarming. Our Quarterly Economic Survey results released last month reported less international trade activity and cited Brexit uncertainty as a key reason behind this, which has been reflected in the global regional trading figures for Q3.

“This is particularly disappointing as the region looked set for a record year of trade, vastly out performing 2017 in the first and second quarters of 2018. 10% decline in exports to the European Union represented a reduction of £200m, dwarfing the 27% (£10m) and 17% (£11m) gains in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America respectively”.

“As we enter 2019, Government is currently voting on our Withdrawal from the European Union, yet business are still no clearer on the final Brexit deal. Business must be given the certainty and confidence to trade internationally to halt this substantial downturn, or else jeopardise the success of our regional global community.”

Key Figures:

  • Exports for Q3 in the North East totalled £3.16bn. This is down 6.75% on the quarter, and 0.35% on the year.
  • Imports totalled £3.49bn, down 1.99%, but up 3.85% on the year. Total trade equaled £6.61bn, and the trade balance is –£286m.
  • The UK there was 1.4% growth in exports, to £83bn, and 3.4% growth in imports to £120bn. A trade deficit of -£37bn.
  • Despite a decline of 9.7%, the European Union is still the region’s top export market, worth £1.81bn (57.5% of overall trade). Biggest export growth was to Sub-Saharan Africa, up £11m (27%).
  • There was also a decline in our biggest sector, with Machinery and Transport down 11.4% to £1.7bn. There was growth in our second sector, with Chemicals growing 2.4% to £714m.
  • North East exporters value per export averaged £1.4m. This was higher than the UK average of £941k.

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