The ONS also reported a £0.2 billion increase in exports, to £42 billion, and a £0.6 billion decrease in imports, to £44 billion.
Exporters should focus on emerging markets
The rise in exports is encouraging, but still phenomenally distant from the Government’s goal of achieving £1 trillion in exports by 2020. UK exports to the EU increased by £0.1 billion, as did UK exports to countries outside of the EU. This year, I have been stressing the point that, given the stagnation of the Eurozone, and the fact that there exist many other markets elsewhere, the UK should be striving to accelerate exports to countries outside of the Eurozone and the EU.
UK exporters need to focus on emerging markets in particular, like China. China’s move towards a free-floating currency has the potential to expand its involvement in international trade, not just in terms of exports, but also in terms of importing from countries like the UK. UK exporters need to seek opportunities and cut costs wherever possible.
What UK exporters need to consider in 2015
1. UK businesses selling their goods and services abroad need to be informed of the opportunities present in exporting to countries outside of the Eurozone, especially those with emerging economies. They need clear guidance on how to access support from the Government, for instance, by working with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
2. They need to know that funding is not the only aspect of finance – once funding has been secured, businesses need best-practice knowledge about how to handle the funds and cut costs. They may face a wide range of costs, from costs incurred by logistical strategies that have not been optimised, to hidden costs.
3. Given the growing uncertainty around global risk, currency markets are liable to shift significantly. UK exporters need to know how to plan their currency exchange strategies in advance in order to save money and mitigate risks on currency costs.