UK CHEMICAL AND PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES SAY EXPORTS CAN DRIVE GROWTH
11 November 2016
For the first time in over a year, chemical and pharmaceutical companies have seen growth across four key economic measures. More companies in Quarter 3 2016 are reporting increases in sales volumes, exports, margins and jobs than the number of companies reporting decreases.
In the latest survey of companies who make up the UK’s top export earning sector, the Chemical Industries Association also report an optimistic outlook for the near term, despite concern about the uncertainty of the UK’s future relationship with Europe and its impact on investment. Companies also have worries over higher energy and raw material costs. Sales volumes and exports will continue to grow, with capital investment and Research & Development plans to remain unchanged from before the referendum vote, but new pressure could come on the number of people the industry employs.
Steve Elliott Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association said “Our latest survey of recent business performance and expectations shows the industry yet again adapting to new and significant challenges. Right across the UK our industry is responding to Brexit, taking the opportunity wherever possible – be it Europe, North America or Asia, to maximise the advantage from a more competitive sterling and pressing on with committed investment”.
He continued “With 80% of companies expecting the level of sales to remain unchanged or grow, 85% saying exports set to continue at current levels or grow, 67% of companies reporting the number of jobs will remain unchanged or grow, 70% saying capital expenditure will remain unchanged or grow and 97% predicting R&D to remain unchanged or grow. We feel that there is every reason to be optimistic provided we can build the right new relationship with Europe”.
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The chemical and pharmaceutical industry adds £15 billion of value to the UK economy every year from total annual turnover of around £50 billion.
The UK is a leading global chemical and pharmaceutical producer.
The chemical and pharmaceutical sector is the UK’s largest export earner with annual exports of close to £50 billion.
Over £4 billion of capital and R&D investment is made by UK chemical and pharmaceutical companies.
The sector employs around 140,000 people directly and supports in total around half a million jobs in the UK economy. The direct workforce is highly skilled and earns on average 30% more than the average UK manufacturing worker.