New figures from HMRC have revealed that the value of exported goods by companies in the North East rose by over 11 per cent in the first three months of 2017 versus the same period last year.

In the three months to the end of March, exports from North East companies reached £2.8bn, up from £2.5bn in the same period last year, a rise of 11.4 per cent.

Exports to EU countries accounted for 62 per cent of the total value, followed by Asia and Oceania on 12 per cent and North America on 9 per cent.

Machinery and transport exports made the most significant contribution – 43 per cent of the total value – while chemicals accounted for 16 per cent and manufactured goods accounted for 14 per cent.

There was also a modest uplift in the number of North East exporters, which rose from 3,184 in Q1 of 2016 to 3,281 in Q1 2017.

Commenting on the new figures, Claire Leece, audit partner and international specialist, at RSM in Newcastle said: ‘The decrease in the value of the pound since last year’s referendum has helped exporters and these figures show that the region’s businesses have been making the most of this.

‘Looking ahead, however, the outlook for exporters is less clear. Last week’s election result has caused further turbulence in the political climate and businesses will no doubt be hoping for some early clarity on the UK’s future trading relationships with Europe once the Brexit negotiations start in earnest.’