Exports from the North East have fallen by 3.5% in the second quarter of 2013 despite an increase in the number of companies exporting.
Latest figures released by HM Revenue & Customs revealed the total value of exports from the region was £3.031bn for April to June, compared to £3.141bn in the previous quarter.
This gives a 12-month rolling value of £12.862bn, representing a fall of 3.39% compared with the same time period’s rolling total to the end of March 2013.
Nationally, the total annual UK exports decreased marginally by 0.1% to £297.8 billion up to the year ending June 2013, compared to a 5.8% increase recorded for the year ending June 2012.
David Coppock, regional director for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in the North East said the fall was disappointing but noted good news as the region experienced the largest percentage rise, 4.6%, in the number of exporting businesses.
According to the latest quarterly figures, released today (5 September), the Netherlands is once again the largest single market for North East goods with £1.531 billion exported in the 12 months up to June 2013.
The USA has now dropped to third place with £1.108bn worth of goods export from the region and France has moved up to second with £1.130bn.
Exports to 11 of the region’s top 20 markets grew over the 12 months and Thailand was again the region’s fastest growing market with an increase of £635m, or 533%, to give a total of £754 million. Turkey saw a 34% increase of £150 million to produce a total of £582m and Norway saw a 12% rise of £23m to give a total of £214m.
Exports of manufactured goods classified chiefly by material showed strong growth of 99.09%, to give a total of £1.742 bn.
Among the top five standard industrial classification divisions, exports of iron and steel noted 173% growth, giving a total of £1.276bn, but there were falls in road vehicles, -12.53% to £4.863bn; medicinal and pharmaceutical, -31.62% to £1.707bn, power generating machinery, - 20.84% to £736m and organic chemicals, -4.7% to £763m.
Coppock said: “Obviously we’re disappointed that the figures show a fall in the value of goods exported from the North East, but the region still has a positive balance of trade. “I’m also pleased to see that the number of companies exporting has increased and we’re working hard to boost this number further and aim to create 500 new SME exporters in the region by 2015.
“The figures also show that there are still signs of growth in many markets and sectors. Although we’ve seen a big decline in the region’s exports to the USA, we’ve had increases in the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy and we’ve seen strong growth in exports of manufactured goods.”
He urged firms to follow the lead of North Tyneside based Kinesio, which produces therapeutic taping for the treatment of sports injuries and has been building on its success during the 2012 Olympics to expand its export markets. The firm benefitted from UKTI support on trade visits to South Africa and India in December 2011 Since the trade visits Kinesio UK has continued to liaise with contacts in both countries, boosting exports by 76% over the past two years.
Coppock added: “Kinesio UK Ltd is a great example of how the Olympic legacy is benefitting the economy and I hope the company’s ongoing success will inspire and encourage others to take up the export for growth challenge.”
Kevin Anderson, MD of Kinesio UK, added: “Export for Kinesio UK remains a key growth area. We are very encouraged by our sales figures since 2011.”