12th September 2012

North West exports slump in second quarter

North West’s biggest export industries experience demand slump from key export partners

Exports in goods from the North West declined by 19.4 percent in the second quarter from the first, according to statistics released by HM Revenue and Customs. This a three year low for North West goods trade as exports for the months April to June were valued at £5.53bn down from £6.86bn in January to March.

UK goods exports decreased by 5.8 percent.

The North West’s biggest industries – chemical, machinery and crude material exports – all experienced large declines in export demand.

Dr Brian Sloan, Chief Economists at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a major concern for the region given the importance of exports to the recent growth in employment and confidence in the region.

“At this time more measures are required to support the domestic economy to create the right conditions for business investment and job creation longer term. This will help us build a position as a major exporter to the global economy and addresses the issue of high levels of worklessness.

“This must start with bringing forward infrastructure investment and ensuring the right supply of skills to meet the future needs of businesses in the region.”

Meanwhile imports from the rest of the world to the North West increased by 2.8 percent from £6.73bn to £6.92bn.

The top five export partners for the North West are the USA, Germany, France, China and the Irish Republic. Consequently, the primary reason for the decline in goods trade came from a large 21 percent fall in trade with the EU and 18.6 percent fall in trade with North America. Furthermore, conflict in the Middle East, particularly in Libya, has been a hindrance to the region’s trade performance.

Goods exports from both the South East and North West, which account for over 10 percent of all goods exports from the UK, declined on the start of 2012 while all other regions experienced an increase in goods trade.

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