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Boom in exports boosts Shropshire economy

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Exports are booming in Shropshire, as businesses in the county take advantage of the weak pound to sell goods and services overseas.

Shropshire Chamber of Commerce today revealed that between January and March, the number of export documents it filed – each of which represents a single instance of sending goods overseas – was the highest of any quarter on record.

More than 600 documents representing the export of goods worth £15 million were filed by the chamber in the first three months of the year, with March proving a particularly strong month.

The total tally of goods exported will actually be higher, because other businesses may have exported without using the chamber's export support service.

Chamber chief executive Richard Sheehan said firms were also looking at new markets.

"We had a record number of documents processed by the documentation team," he said. I think we are still seeing a benefit in terms of currency and exchange rates.

"People are also looking further afield when they consider their markets. The UAE was one of the top countries in terms of goods going out, along with Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, India and Egypt.

"They are key markets for us at the moment, people are looking at opportunities around the world, looking to export more goods to more countries, and that is reflected in the activity we are seeing."

In March alone, 233 export documents were filed, up from 173 in March last year – although that was a period which included Easter in 2016. The three months as a whole saw 611 documents filed, up from 555 last year.

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The chamber's quarterly economic survey also reveals an increased appetite for Shropshire goods to be sent overseas, with more than half of respondents seeing a rise in export sales in the first quarter.

Mr Sheehan added: "I think people are of a mind to make hay while the sun shines.

"We don't know what the latter part of the year is going to look like – what impact inflation will have on consumer spending, what the effect of the increased cost of importing materials will be on manufacturing, what the uncertainty from the issues around Syria, Russia and the USA will mean.

"The mentality is that we should get on with things, make the most of things as businesses do."

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