Chamber: UK’s trade position remains underwhelming

  • Julie Austin: Slump in value of Sterling remains a double-edge sword as many exporters are also importers
  • More must also be done to provide greater practical and front-line assistance to UK businesses looking to trade in both current and new markets

Commenting on the trade statistics for June, released today by the ONS, Julie Austin, International Trade Manager at Norfolk Chamber said:

“The sharp deterioration in the UK’s net trade position in June was disappointing, and means the trade deficit in the second quarter of this year came in slightly higher than in the previous quarter. In Norfolk, the value of export documents processed through the Chamber was nearly £31 million in Q2 – a slight increase on the document value for Q1, which was just under £30 million.

“These figures together with the recent jump in the current account deficit, signals the continued weakness of the UK’s external position. The widening in the UK trade deficit in June was largely driven by a sharp rise in imports. 

“Businesses continue to report that the slump in the value of sterling since the EU referendum remains something of a double-edged sword, as many exporters are also importers, and so face higher input costs due to the weakening currency. While stronger global economic growth may help to boost the UK’s export performance over the second half of the year, it is unlikely to be sufficient to prevent an overall weakening in growth.

“As the Brexit negotiations unfold, safeguarding the favourable terms of trade that UK firms currently enjoy with partners and markets in Europe and beyond must be a key priority. More must also be done to provide greater practical and front-line assistance to UK businesses looking to trade in both current and new markets.”

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