Plummeting export confidence features in the latest batch of trends and business information. Short-term export confidence is at its lowest point since June 1993, according to research published last week. The DHL Quarterly Export Indicator reports that the the number of exporters who think exchange rates will have a negative impact on their business has doubled in three months to 30%. Most other negative factors, including raw materials costs, are steady.
The CBI also reports weak export confidence in its latest regional trends report. Manufacturing orders rose significantly in four regions – south west England, Wales, West Midlands and Northern Ireland – over the four months to January 1997 fell in three and rose marginally in four.
Acquisitions overseas by UK companies were worth £11. 5bn in 1996, just under the 1995 value, according to official figures. Most deals were in the EU, with just 14% in the developing world.
Middle market companies (turnover between £5m to £200m) are using acquisitions to grow. Coopers & Lybrand research found almost 40% of firms making acquisitions. Over a third did so to gain products, and just over 10% to increase market share.