Sluggish sales in the UK force companies to turn to exports

Julian Harris
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WEAK domestic demand is prompting businesses to increasingly look abroad for new sales, according to figures released this morning by the British Chambers of Commerce.

The service sector has reported its highest level of forward-looking export orders since the start of 2007 – prior to the credit crunch – the Chambers (BCC) said today.

“While domestic growth continues to bump along the bottom, the silver lining is an increase in firms looking for export opportunities, and in many cases, with countries outside Europe,” said BCC chief John Longworth. The BCC consulted 7,805 firms, with the balance of manufacturers reporting higher exports growing seven points to +31 per cent. The balance of service sector firms showing higher export activity rose eight points to +24 per cent.

Yet UK domestic sales progress was sluggish, the data showed. The balances for both recorded sectors stayed in positive territory, yet slipped among factories (by three points to plus nine per cent) and services stagnated at +10 per cent.