Exports rise gives region confidence

Richard Proctor, practice leader of Grant Thornton's Norwich office

Richard Proctor, practice leader of Grant Thornton's Norwich office - Credit: Keith Whitmore

Business confidence across the east has been buoyed by an increase in exports, figures have revealed.

The latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) has found that companies are feeling at their most confident since Q3 2010, with an upward trend to +20.1 compared to the UK average of +24.0.

It comes as firms in Norfolk and the East of England have seen a 4.8pc increase in exports for the 12 months to Q3 2013, which was broadly level with the 5.3pc growth seen over the same period last year.

And turnover has increased by 3.1pc on average over the last 12 months, while sales volumes have grown by 2.4pc over the same period.

During the next year, companies are forecasting turnover and sales volumes to rise by 3.6pc and 3.3pc respectively.

Philippa Bourne, ICAEW East of England regional director, said: 'Encouragingly for businesses in Norfolk and the East of England, recent trade statistics from HMRC have shown that the region's exporters are managing to access relatively buoyant non-EU economies, in particular the US.

This has led to non-EU exports accounting for 42.4pc of the region's exports, up from 37.1pc last year. It is clear that while confidence is at a high level, and with the UK economy expected to grow by 1.0pc this quarter, businesses need to make the most of the environment to ensure that the recovery is consolidated.'

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Richard Proctor, practice leader at Grant Thornton Norwich, said: 'It is very pleasing to see Norfolk businesses responding to the call for an export-led recovery. The reduced reliance on the EU should also help ensure that this recovery is sustainable.'