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12th January 2024

Uncertain times ahead for global trade

The ONS has released the trade data for November.

Paul Butterworth, CEO at Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said:

“It is disappointing to see that the value of goods imports and exports decreased in November. The latest figures reflect what businesses in Wales were telling us in Q4 of 2023. In our latest Quarterly Economic Survey, despite faring slightly better in comparison with Q3, businesses in Wales saw decreases in sales and orders internationally. Export sales and advance orders both decreased by 44%.

“However, almost three quarters of businesses in Wales identified new markets as an opportunity for their business to recover. It is therefore imperative that businesses who do wish to trade internationally receive the correct support and guidance to connect, trade and thrive on the global stage.”

William Bain, BCC Head of Trade Policy, said: 

“The positives are there was a pick-up in some export sectors in goods trade with the EU, particularly in automotive sales. Services also remained steady for a further month, with only very small declines. But other indicators for November were weak, particularly on imports.

“Looking ahead the picture is only likely to worsen as the effects of the disruption to shipping in the Red Sea, and through the Suez Canal, begin to be fully felt. The Kiel Institute this week estimated global trade fell by 1.3% in December due to the initial impact.

“These are stark numbers – the fall in containers taking this route, from the East, amounts to 300,000 per day. This suggests only 40% of normal sea freight traffic is currently travelling via the Red Sea. This is a significant challenge, especially when combined with the other global headwinds which traders are facing in the early weeks of 2024.”

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