The East Midlands is emerging as an exporting powerhouse with forecast growth of 6.1 per cent driven by significant gains in engineering, according to a new study.
EY's 'UK Goods Export Monitor', which tracks international export data by region, sector and trade routes over the next five years, revealed the East Midlands is expected to increase trade from £18.7bn to £25.2bn in 2017.
The region is the second fastest-growing in the UK for goods exports, only beaten by neighbouring West Midlands, which is forecast to achieve an 8.1 per cent rise in goods exporters by 2017 – three times faster than Germany.
Both regions outstripped the UK average, which is forecast just 0.3 per cent annualised growth over the next four years.
According to the data, East Midlands engineering exports are forecast to swell from £11.2bn to £16.4bn. However, a small drop in goods from the region in food and beverages and chemicals is forecast.
Looking to 2017, the automotive, engineering and pharmaceutical industries are all expected to lead growth into new trade corridors, with a focus on high-end, specialist products.
Gordon Newlands, Nottingham senior partner at EY, said: "The East Midlands sparkling export success story recognises the region's investment in our innovative engineering sector – one of the fastest-growth export markets for the UK.
"The sector has successfully re-orientated itself towards rapid growth markets like the UAE, and kept pace with increased demand for goods in China, Singapore and Canada."
The study found significant regional variance in the UK, with the Midlands emerging as an export powerhouse. The area is on track to grow goods exports faster than any other UK region by selling high-end engineering far outside Europe, with annualised growth of 4.8 per cent worth £6.9bn in 2017, compared with £5.5bn in 2012.
The largest UK goods exporters, London and the South East, are failing to match this rapid growth.
Newlands added: "Now that confidence in the UK appears to be turning a corner, goods exporters must stop treading water and manoeuvre into the fast lanes to growth, mirroring the success of our most buoyant sectors, which have benefited from having very targeted export strategies."