Falling commodity prices boosting firms’ confidence

HSBC said China is set to become the UK's top import partner by 2030
HSBC said China is set to become the UK's top import partner by 2030
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British firms have reported an uplift in confidence amid falling commodity prices and improving conditions in key economies.

The latest trade forecast from HSBC shows 70 per cent of UK traders expect volumes to increase in the next six months, despite political risks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and a sharp slowdown of import demand in Asia.

Its UK trade confidence survey increased by seven points to 120, although global confidence fell by four points to the same reading.

Ian Stuart, HSBC’s head of UK commercial banking, said: “While UK trade with MENA and Asia will remain a challenge in the short term, the recovery in western European economies and the US provides reasons for optimism.

“Add to this falling commodity prices and the sterling easing against the US dollar and euro, and it is no wonder UK traders are increasingly buoyant over future trade prospects.”

The report said that China is on course to become the UK’s top import partner by 2030, driven by 9 per cent annual growth in exports from the UK. The value of UK shipments to China, India and Malaysia is also expected to grow by an average of 9 to 10 per cent a year between 2021 and 2030.