Global pressures having little impact on UK export growth as trade reaches new record high

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The performance of UK exports and goods over the last twelve months has continued to rise, reaching a new record high despite a challenging global trade environment and impending departure from the European Union. 

In the 12 months to May 2019, overall exports increased by 4% to £647.1 billion with goods exports alone increasing by 4.7% to £357.1 billion, supported by an ever-increasing demand for British food and drink products abroad. 

Total service trade surplus grew to £107.3 billion following a 3.3% rise, whilst in goods exports, the fuels sector contributed the most significant sector growth at nearly 26% to £39.3 billion.

These are the latest figures released from the Department of International Trade which this month celebrated its third anniversary to a 38th consecutive month of export growth on a year-to-year comparative basis.

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox commented on the latest data that: “Despite the global headwinds getting stronger, today’s record-breaking statistics highlight what a real international trade policy can deliver for the UK as people from around the world continue to express their appetite for British goods and services.”

Read more: Scottish food & drink exports rise to record £1.4 billion

Continued export success for the UK comes at a time when weaker global growth, political uncertainty and of course Brexit have all held the potential to seriously weaken UK firm’s abilities to continue growing international sales. 

Earlier this month, the World Bank announced in its Global Economic Prospects report that global economic growth is forecast to slow to 2.6%, below expectations, with no significant growth expected in 2020 either. 

Citing restrained investment in emerging and developing economies, as well as weaker exports and investment within the EU, World Bank Group President, David Malpass commented that: “Current economic momentum remains weak, while heightened debt levels and subdued investment growth in developing economies are holding countries back from achieving their potential.”

“It’s urgent that countries make significant structural reforms that improve the business climate and attract investment. They also need to make debt management and transparency a high priority so that new debt adds to growth and investment.”

The report forecasts regional growth within Europe and Central Asia to steady at 2.7%, an increase on a sluggish 1.6% this year.

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