West Midlands exports rise by almost a quarter

Nick Blundell
X The Business Desk

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The value of goods exported by companies in the West Midlands rose by almost a quarter in the first three months of 2017 compared with the same period last year.

New figures from HMRC show that in the three months to the end of March, exports from West Midlands-based companies reached £7.9bn, up from £6.4bn in the same period last year, a rise of 23%.

However, whether the performance can be sustained for the remainder of the year is uncertain, especially with Brexit being more of an unknown factor than ever.

Exports to EU countries in the three-month period accounted for 49% of the total value, followed by Asia and Oceania (19%) and North America (18%).

Machinery and transport exports made the most significant contribution – 65% of the total value – while manufactured goods accounted for 15%.

There was also a modest uplift in the number of West Midlands exporters, which rose from 11,295 in Q1 of 2016 to 11,801 in Q1 2017.

Commenting on the new figures, Nick Blundell, tax partner at RSM in Birmingham said: “The decrease in the value of the pound since last year’s referendum has helped exporters and these figures show that the region’s businesses have been making the most of this.

“Looking ahead, however, the outlook for exporters is less clear. Last week’s election result has caused further turbulence in the political climate and businesses will no doubt be hoping for some early clarity on the UK’s future trading relationships with Europe once the Brexit negotiations start in earnest.”