Exporting activity is at its highest level on record (since Q3,2007) according to the latest British Chambers of Commerce / DHL trade confidence index, published yesterday (Tuesday).
Responses from more than 1,700 businesses show that export orders and sales have increased, with confidence levels in both future turnover and future profitability also remaining high.
More businesses have taken on new staff in the second quarter of this year, with many expecting to hire further in Q3.
The key findings from the DHL/BCC report are:
Export orders for service sector businesses increased for 50 percent of firms to the highest figure on record. Forty four percent of manufacturing firms increased their export orders resulting in the highest figure since Q1 2012.
More than half of exporters (51 percent) believe that their profitability will increase this year, and 60 percent believe they will see an increase in turnover.
Nearly a third of firms (31 percent) said that they expected to increase staff this year, up from 28 percent in Q1 2013.
Phil Smith, managing director of Business West said:"For the first time on record, these results are positive across the board.
“Export sales and orders have gone up, confidence is high and expectations around profitability have increased.
“Even more businesses have taken on new staff this quarter, with many expecting to hire again next quarter which is really encouraging.
“This reflects the recent results of our own Quarterly Economic Survey showing that in this region figures for exporting have dramatically improved on Q1– a real tribute to our exporters who are working tirelessly to drive growth and lead the economic recovery.
"But we mustn’t take our foot off the gas. We still need more companies to take the plunge on international trade and for those who export already, to try and diversify into new markets.
“Business West through Acorn Interactive, UKTI and Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is working hard to provide on the ground support to help companies take their goods and services overseas, smoothing their path by providing local insight, guidance and global expertise, enabling them to sell their wares to the world.
“We must seize this momentum and strive towards an economy that is more than just ‘ok’, but which is truly great and outperforms our competitors.
"Our exporters require all the support they can get from the government, from trade bodies, and fellow businesses to invest in new markets, if they are to lead the country back to sustainable economic growth."