Number of UK manufacturers tapping into overseas markets on the rise

Despite challenging global trading conditions, more than eight in 10 manufacturers (81%) said they exported goods between July and September, the second highest-percentage since 2005.

The latest Lloyds Bank International Trade Index, compiled in partnership with IHS Markit, offers a mixed assessment of Q3 2019.

The number of businesses exporting hit the second-highest level in almost 15 years, bolstered by international supply chain efficiency hitting a 10-year high, as slowing global economic growth and the surplus inventory from stockpiling seen between January and March led to fewer bottlenecks and shorter delivery lead times from suppliers.

CROP Transforming Maritime Supply Chains - Stock Image

Nine out of the UK’s 10 largest trading partners posted economic growth in Q3, with the rate of growth in France and Italy increasing.

However, slower growth in markets such as Germany, Ireland, the US and China all contributed to a fall in manufacturing export volume overall.

The UK automotive industry posted its weakest quarter for new exports in a decade between July and September, with respondents citing a sharp fall in European production levels and a global shift in investment towards electric vehicles.

The fall in manufacturing exports was partly offset by increased overseas sales of chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, and luxury and sporting goods.

KEY FINDINGS

  • The automotive sector sees the steepest fall in exports since 2009
  • Exports of luxury and sporting goods classified as Other Manufacturing remain strong while exports of chemicals and plastics rebound
  • UK firms continue to show resilience as the proportion of exporters remains at historically high levels

Gwynne Master, managing director and global head of trade for Lloyds Bank Global Transaction Banking, said: “Our analysis underlines how the fortunes of UK exporters are affected by a complex range of factors extending well beyond our borders.

“A slowdown in global economic growth and trade tensions are undoubtably making the environment for exporters challenging. There are, however, bright spots and it’s incredibly encouraging to see such a high number of UK manufacturers continuing to take advantage of new opportunities, pockets of international growth, and greater supply chain efficiency.

*All images courtesy of Depositphotos