According to new research by DHL Express almost half of the UK’s automotive businesses involved with import and export expect overseas demand for their products to grow in the next three months, boosting the UK economy and lending a positive impetus to today’s GDP figures for the period between January and March that showed an admittedly frail expansion of just 0.5%.
The figures, which showed that 46% of businesses expected growth while 41% expected demand for exports to remain constant over the next quarter, are supported by ONS Trade in Goods and Services data which shows that exports grew by 11.5% in the past year, while imports grew by 11.7%.
Around 75% of automotive businesses involved in the research believe that the resurgence in the manufacturing industry would stimulate the economy. ONS data shows that 75% of imports and 77% of exports in the past year were manufactured goods.
According to DHL, of those automotive businesses anticipating export growth, 33% expect this to come from Germany, 22% expect it to come from France and 17% from the US and Spain, respectively.
In terms of imports, 43% of importers included in the research, expected to import more over the next three months, again with Germany being the biggest exporter of automotive products to the UK, a position that is expected to strengthen.
However, companies also saw the need for incentives or manufacturing to boost trade further (80%), as well as a need to loosen the UK’s tax regime (62%). The research also found that 57% of those canvassed wanted to keep sterling weaker than it has been historically.
Commenting on the findings Phil Couchman, CEO, DHL Express UK and Ireland, said: “The international express market is recovering after a turbulent period caused by the financial crisis; businesses altered their trading patterns over the past few years to cut costs which had a direct effect on shipments.
“It’s extremely promising to see UK businesses are confident about their future – more than half surveyed felt optimistic about 2011, and 56% anticipate growth,” he added.