North East businesses have to maximise on the export opportunities presented by the low value of the pound in the current economic climate, according to a leading Lloyds Bank economist.
Speaking at an event in Newton Aycliffe organised by accountants and business advisers, Clive Owen LLP, Adam Chester, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Head of Economics, highlighted countries such as India, Russia and Brazil, as important opportunities for UK exporters.
Adam also highlighted the biggest challenge facing business, outside of the uncertainty caused by Britain’s impending exit from the European Union, is the growing productivity gap in the UK economy. Since 2008, output per employee has fallen 15 percent beneath predicted levels, which is impacting on the UK’s ability to compete in international markets.
Addressing an audience of business professionals from across the North East, Adam also reviewed the key financial indicators, such as inflation, GDP and employment, and their impact on the UK and its position in the global economy.
The productivity issue was also addressed by Lee Huck, IT Services Director at Clive Owen LLP, who discussed how the implementation of software services can improve business operations and performance.
The event took place at the new Siesta Coffee Shop, which is owned and operated by building maintenance specialists EHL UK Ltd and is due to open to the public later this month.
Adam Chester added: “Early indications suggest the UK economy is holding up much better than expected, but influences such as uncertainty caused by the referendum result and developments in the US and China, for example, make the medium to long term outlook more difficult to predict .
“Longer term prospects depend on how EU negotiations unfold and whether businesses postpone or cancel investment. The key though, is improving our productivity. This is particularly important for exporting where the benefit of the uncertainty caused by the referendum result has led to improved prospects for British business because of the low value of the pound. Markets such as India and Brazil present real opportunities and the low exchange rate provides an added incentive for these countries to trade with British business.”
Lee Huck, IT Services Director at Clive Owen LLP, said: “IT services can enable British business to solve the productivity puzzle. Bespoke systems that are designed to meet the requirements of a business can help companies improve their operations, focus the utilisation of their manpower and create a new platform for growth and expansion. In this current economy, that is key to ensuring future sustainability and success.”