Brexit: Shropshire exports booming after EU vote
Export orders are pouring in as Shropshire firms cash in on the post-Brexit fall in the pound.
Shropshire Chamber of Commerce today provided an upbeat assessment of the county's economy.
There were fears that uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote would hamper business.
But figures released today show that businesses using the Chamber's export documentation service received orders from overseas worth £39 million between the start of the new financial year on April 1 and the end of November.
The boost regionally is being matched nationally. Latest figures show that exports of goods rose by £2.1bn to £26.8bn in October.
Businesses around the county have responded to the weaker pound with export plans.
Christopher Greenough, director of Shrewsbury-based Salop Design, said: "The pound is still down against the Euro and the Dollar, and this is resulting in real chances for our companies to maximise sales to foreign shores."
And thermal insulation specialist Seymour Manufacturing International has moved to new premises and has revealed it is in talks to set up new trading links with Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Figures compiled in our county are not exhaustive as they do not include businesses that exported without using Shropshire Chamber support, but they demonstrate the value of overseas markets to the county's economy.
They also suggest that exports have thrived since the Brexit vote.
The collapse in the value of sterling since June 23 is thought to have affected UK-based businesses by increasing the cost of importing raw materials, while making their own goods more attractive to overseas buyers because they cost less when converted into dollars or euros.
Richard Sheehan, chief executive of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, said the figure also reflected a long-term effort to improve exports.
"The groundwork that has been going on for some time is really starting to pay dividends," he said.
"The Shropshire business community is grasping the opportunity presented to it by the worldwide market.
"We are seeing more and more new companies getting involved in exporting.
"The currency situation is helping to make that happen all over the world. It's not just within the EU.
"As people are getting more familiar with trading with many partner countries across the world, that will help us deal with whatever the fallout from Brexit will be."
The documents also show that 25 businesses using the Chamber's service exported for the first time during the seven-month period, drawing in sales worth just under £10 million.
Mr Sheehan added that the £39 million figure also represents a return of £174 for every £1 spent on the export support service in Shropshire, and that the growth was worth £7.6 million for each of the service's export advisers.
The Department for International Trade's export advisers are based in branches of the British Chambers of Commerce around the country.