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Overseas sales boost ‘gives cause for optimism’, says Chamber chief

Service sector firms reported that the downward trend for overseas sales, which started in the second half of 2014, has reversed and nearly half of manufacturers identified an improvement in advanced custom.

However, several issues were highlighted in the report, including uncertainty about domestic sales, businesses coming under pressure to increase their prices and a drop in the number of manufacturers who are confident their turnover will increase in the next year.

Northamptonshire Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths pictured said: “The improved performance of the services sector in overseas sales perhaps gives cause for optimism against a backdrop of political uncertainty in trade negotiations.

“Perhaps, in the services sector at least, we are seeing the beginnings of the predicted rebalance away from domestic demand towards international trade in response to strengthening global growth and the weak pound.”

There was also a slight increase in the number of businesses that expected to grow their workforces over the next 12 months, he added.

However, the survey also highlighted a reduction in domestic sales for manufacturers and reports from 65% of manufacturers and 33% of service sector firms that their prices will have to increase.

In addition only 18% of manufacturers predict their turnover will improve in the next 12 months, the lowest figure reported since the financial crash, said Mr Griffiths.

Northamptonshire Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey is part of the largest and most representative survey of its kind in the UK and provides central and local policymakers with feedback of the performance, concerns and views of businesses across Northamptonshire.

Nearly 50 firms employing 2,220 staff, responded to the survey which examined the performance of businesses during the final quarter of 2017.

To read the full report, visit www.northants-chamber.co.uk/representation/quarterly-economic-surveys 

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