UK exports to pick up as rich world recovers

Tim Wallace
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BRITAIN will increase its sales to traditional trading partners in the rich world over the next decade, reversing the trend of recent years, according to forecasts out today from EY’s Item Club.

Sales to China and Brazil will start to slow down as the market matures, but will still see healthy growth.

But despite the positive figures, the analysts believe the UK will still miss the government’s targets.

EY expects exports to hit £896bn by 2020, below the £1 trillion target set out by George Osborne.

The accounting firm predicts that exports to the US will grow by an average of 6.4 per cent each year over the next decade, turning around an average fall of 1.2 per cent over the past 10 years.

Exports to France should accelerate from 0.4 per cent growth to 4.2 per cent, while those to Italy are set to turn around from a 1.8 per cent average annual dip to growth of 3.8 per cent.

Meanwhile sales to China are expected to grow by an average of 6.9 per cent, slower than the 10.2 per cent seen each year over the past decade. And UK exports to Brazil will slow from 8.1 per cent to 7.8 per cent, EY believes.

However, Britain’s sales to India should accelerate from average annual growth of 5.1 per cent in the last decade to 12.4 per cent in the coming 10 years.

EY analysts urged the government to do more to make exporting easier.

“By following a more sophisticated strategy, there are opportunities to re-focus attention on the markets and sectors which best play to the UK’s strengths,” said EY Item Club economist Carl Astorri.

“The UK government is already acting to address this challenge, as demonstrated by the recent education reforms and the planned trade mission to China. But such actions need to form the catalyst for a concerted export drive by both the government and business.”