North West exports up 21% to £8bn in first quarter

The fall of the pound helped the value of exported goods by companies in the North West of England rise 21% to £8 billion in the three months to the end of March, 2017, according to new figures from HMRC.

Exports to EU countries accounted for 47% of the total value, followed by North America on 20% and Asia and Oceania on 17%.

Machinery and transport exports made the most significant contribution – 46% of the total value – while chemicals accounted for 23%.

There was also an increase in the number of North West exporters — up from 11,710 in Q1 of 2016 to 12,265 in Q1 2017.

Graham Bond, head of manufacturing in the North West for accounting and consultancy firm RSM, said: “The decrease in the value of the pound since last year’s referendum has helped exporters and these figures show that the region’s businesses have been making the most of this.

“Looking ahead, however, the outlook for exporters is less clear.

“Last week’s election result has caused further turbulence in the political climate and businesses will no doubt be hoping for some early clarity on the UK’s future trading relationships with Europe once the Brexit negotiations start in earnest.”

* The HMRC figures also revealed that the value of exported goods by companies in Yorkshire and the Humber reached £3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2017, up from £3.2 billion in the same period last year.