The latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) results issued today, (12 July 2017) by North East England Chamber of Commerce show an upward trend for the region’s businesses.
These results, the largest independent business barometer of how the region is performing, show export sales are up by 12.5% on last quarter. There is also continued positivity and an upward trend in exporting across manufacturing and service in the whole North East.
John McCabe, (Fusion PR), President, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “After a worrying downturn in our survey results towards the end of 2016, it is great to see two quarters of economic improvement in North East England at the start of this year. Every day we meet new and existing Chamber members who are growing, investing and recruiting.
“Beyond the overall upward trend, it is particularly pleasing to see such a strong improvement in our export performance. However, we know that there has been very little material change since the referendum. With the Brexit negotiations now underway we are on a path towards a new trading relationship with our biggest export market. Government must listen to the views of business from the outset to ensure a positive and competitive deal is struck.”
Jonathan Walker, Chamber head of policy and campaigns said: “This quarter’s results continue the same positive overall trend we saw three months ago. All of our key indicators are in positive territory, painting a picture of a robust North East economy. However, interesting details emerge when you examine the data more closely.
Last quarter it was domestic sales and orders making the biggest contribution to improved business performance, with exports showing a worrying decline. In the last three months however, export sales and orders have seen a strong recovery, rising to levels not seen since 2015.”
Andy Trafford, owner and director of Sunderland-based fire safety and security company, MacDonald Martin, a Chamber member said: “We have been successful in securing a host of new contracts across both the public and private sector, in the last two quarters. And while we do little in terms of exports, we are seeing a real upsurge domestically.
“It’s good to see that the success we are enjoying is being replicated in firms across the region and that North East business remains in rude health, despite the economic uncertainty across the UK at the moment.”
On domestic figures sales and orders are slightly down after a strong start to the year but both still remain firmly in positive territory.
Business responses on forward indicators in the survey are all positive including on key areas such as future turnover and productivity. These both continue to improve and sit well above long term averages. The survey also points towards further improvement in the regional labour market with the future workforce score at its highest since 2007.
Inflation remains businesses’ biggest concern, reflecting the upwards trajectory of prices in recent months. Many respondents also cite exchange rates as a growing issue, but there is little to suggest this is having an impact on exports at the moment.