The UK services sector exports rose to an all-time high in the first quarter of this year according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
The BCC said that measures of growth in export sales and orders between January and March hit their highest levels since the survey was launched in 1989 and that six key manufacturing balances, including investment plans, were also at all-time highs.
This bodes well in the short term for the general economic recovery of the UK but in the report accompanying the survey, the BCC cautioned that more needs to be done to ensure that firms have access to finance in the future. The report also warned that economic growth is still too reliant on consumer spending.
Amongst the key findings in the survey were that for both manufacturing and services, all the major Q1 balances are stronger than their long-term averages and most are higher than their pre-recession levels.
In addition, both export balances in the services sector rose during the period, surpassing their Q4 all-time highs, with export sales and export orders rising by 38 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, six key manufacturing balances are at all-time highs. This continues a trend seen over the last three quarters where an initial spurt in manufacturing has developed into consistent growth.
Domestic sales were up by 38 per cent, domestic orders by 42 per cent, employment expectations were up by 40 per cent, investment in plant and machinery by 37 per cent, investment in training was up 33 per cent, and turnover confidence rose by a substantial 67 per cent.
However, the survey found that there was a significant drop in the employment balance in the services sector, which fell by 16 per cent ,and manufacturers and service-based firms are still concerned about inflation rising again.