Export concerns despite growth

'Uncertainty': Babs Murphy

'Uncertainty': Babs Murphy

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Firms across Lancashire are continuing to see growth in domestic sales and orders according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey.

But there are concerns over exports, according to the Chamber of Commerce report.

The new survey, compiled by the county’s three Chambers, shows that the UK economy is still strong and moving in the right direction.

However, there was some uncomfortable news for Lancashire’s exporters as all of the export balances retracted in Q2 – with more firms expressing concerns over exchange rates than three months ago.

Despite disappointing export figures, the survey reveals that business confidence remains high with firms in both sectors expecting to see increases in turnover and profitability in the year ahead.

Interest rates concerns were higher this quarter, up 10 per cent in both sectors. There was also an 11 per cent increase in manufacturing firms more concerned about exchange rates than 3 months ago.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “Although some key balances for Q2 are lower than the very strong figures seen in the first quarter, they remain high by historical standards.

“The Q2 falls in all the export balances act as a timely warning that although growth is stable, challenges facing our economic recovery still remain. Rises in sterling are making UK exports more expensive. Uncertainties around early interest rate increases are adding to the difficulties.”

Stephen Gregson, corporate finance director at accountants Moore and Smalley, said: “Manufacturing clearly appears to be weaker than Services this quarter – although it is too early to say whether this will be a serious worry.”