Strong first quarter export results – despite virus

The overall value of goods exported from the region topped £28.4m in the first quarter of 2020 – despite the onset of the pandemic, according to the latest figures from the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Figures are significantly higher than the final months of 2019, when items worth around £18m were exported from across the districts of Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield.

The most noteworthy rise was in Wakefield, where the value of goods exported more than doubled on the final quarter of 2019.

During January, February and March this year, more than £15m worth of goods were exported from Wakefield – a increase of 150% – to regions including Turkey, the UAE, Qatar, Ukraine and India.

March was particularly productive, despite the onset of Government guidelines introduced in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, with a total value of goods exported of more than £9m.

Textiles was the most widely exported commodity, followed by chemicals, food and machinery.

In other areas it was a similar story. In Huddersfield, the value of overall goods exported in quarter one equated to £7,362,711, while Halifax recorded a figure of £6,053,286. In both districts, figures for March were stronger than for the first two months of the year.

Leah Quarmby, Export Hub supervisor, said: “Despite the onset of the pandemic, it is encouraging to see that export values rose in all three of our regions, particularly in March.

“It will be interesting to see how businesses perform during Quarter two as the effects of Covid-19 really begin to take hold.”

Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “The strong figures for the quarter are potentially a result of the new Government and business optimism at the start of the year, where Brexit questions were finally starting to be answered.

“While it is encouraging to see the value of exports rising during March, we strongly advise businesses to access our specialist support and advice to keep up to date with the latest developments and opportunities.

“We’re continuing to work hard to support our members during this unprecedented time.”