Trading at the heart of our economy

In the last two blogs in this series we have examined some of the interesting findings from our UK trade briefing report. This report was prepared in collaboration with Global Trade Review (GTR).

First, we looked at existing and emerging trading opportunities. Second, we examined the role of SMEs in UK trade.

Now we look at which sectors lead the way for UK exports.

The GTR research shows the largest export sectors for the UK’s trade in goods combined to provide $207bn in value in 2017:

  • machinery and components ($56bn)
  • automotives ($55bn)
  • precious metals ($34bn)
  • pharmaceuticals ($33bn)
  • oil and gas ($29bn)

Meanwhile, the data from the report also shows that commodity exports were worth $20.6bn in 2017 and beverage, spirits and vinegar exports were worth $9.5bn. Iron and steel was worth $5.8bn and exports for iron and steel products were worth a similar $5.3bn in 2017.

Looking ahead, commodity exports are expected to grow the fastest at 4.3 per cent a year to 2021, while aerospace exports are also expected to grow strongly at 3.7 per cent annually over the same period.

Automotive exports are expected to grow by more than 1.7 per cent annually to 2021, according to the data from GTR.  

The research also shows the emergence of highly innovative sectors in the UK such as manufacturing as a service. This new sector is forecast to grow by over 3 per cent annually to 2021.

In order for these sectors and the businesses within them to succeed, they need working capital. 

It is only by providing better access to funding that we can support businesses to trade, grow and create jobs.

To read more about the research, please see our UK trade briefing report:   

This research was initially published in our UK trade briefing 2018 report, on which this blog and the data within is based.  The sources for the research include the United Nations, Eurostat, the OECD and customs and excise data as well as UK Office of National Statistics data.


The information in this article is not the opinion of Wyelands Bank but based on the research commissioned and data provided by Global Trade Review in March 2018

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