Quarterly International Trade Outlook

The BCC Quarterly International Trade Outlook sets out the opportunities and risks facing British companies as they trade the world - with a particular focus on timely information on dynamic new markets.

Quarterly International Trade Outlook – Quarter 3 2017


The British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL, published its latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook, based on survey and documentation data from UK exporters.

The Outlook shows considerable price pressures amongst exporting businesses – but exporters are absorbing the impact for the moment thanks to stronger sales and orders.

The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures the volume of trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce for goods shipments, rose by 2.25% on the quarter, and stands at the third highest level on record.

The survey, based on the responses of over 3,300 exporters, shows that in the manufacturing sector, exporters are enjoying strong sales and orders in foreign markets, and are also reporting improvements in domestic sales and orders.

The results of the survey indicate the price pressure from the cost of raw materials is high across the board for exporters (86% in manufacturing, 42% in services). 68% of exporting manufacturers consider exchange rates as a concern to their business.

Exporters are also more likely to have tried recruiting in the last three months. However, firms across the UK economy are struggling to find the right skills, with 70% of manufacturers and 57% of services firms reporting recruitment difficulties.

The findings suggest that the fall in sterling is increasing price pressure for businesses across the economy, but particularly in manufacturing. However, many of those businesses that export have been able to offset the fall in sterling thanks to timely improvements in sales and orders, both overseas and at home.

Key findings from the report: 

  • The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the volume of trade documentation issued nationally, rose by 2.25% on the quarter. The Index now stands at 126.51 – up 4% on Q3 2016 – and stands at the third highest level since records began in 2004
  • 44% of exporting manufacturers and 30% of exporting service firms reported increased export sales in Q3. 41% of exporting manufacturers and 26% of exporting service firms reported increased export orders

The 2017 Quarterly International Trade Outlook reports are available below.

QITO Q1 2017

QITO Q2 2017

QITO Q3 2017

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