UK manufacturers are feeling the effects of a prolonged Brexit process as sales and orders drop into the negative, despite growth in the number of individual firms selling overseas.
The British Chamber’s Quarterly International Trade Survey for Q3 2019 found that the percentage balance of manufacturers exporting internationally reporting order increases dropped from 9% to -1%, indicating a decline in foreign trade.
Confidence is also hitting local demand with domestic orders falling from 8% to -4% in the balance analysis.
The state of cash flow for UK manufacturers also feel from 6% in Q2 to -5% – and down from 13% at the same time last year.
The export of services is still seeing growth, albeit slower, at 8% compared to 12% with export orders levelling out.
Adam Marshall, director-general at the British Chamber commented that: “A strong and balanced economy needs healthy exporters at its core. But while there are some companies bucking the trend, future sales and orders are now well into negative territory, after a steady downward trend in export performance this year.
“On top of Brexit uncertainty and global trade tensions, election turbulence won’t be helping. The next administration will need to most fast to restore confidence, with action to upgrade infrastructure, boost skills and cut business costs.
Read more: Number of exporting manufacturers on the rise
“Without urgent clarity around our future trading relationship with the EU, firms across the UK will increasingly struggle to fill order books, and jobs and prosperity in many of our communities could be at risk.”