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UK exports on the rise in H1 and H2 2016

Published:  19 October, 2016

Emphasis has been put on importers over the past week or so, as experts warn that the 'cushioning' of forward foreign currency buying ahead of the Brexit vote is about to run out.

To add to the atmosphere of impending doom, the WSTA announced that average bottle prices for wine being imported from the EU could jump by 29p.

However, things are looking rosier on the export side, with exports expected to remain strong in the second half of 2016, despite the possibility of increased tariffs for trading with the EU bloc post Brexit.

In the first half of the year, UK food and drink exports reached £6.6 billion, up 8.7% on the first half of 2015, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

Including alcoholic drinks, food and drink exports were up 6% to £9bn in H1 2016.

These figures are to June 2016 and therefore do not reflect the market following the referndum.

However, the FDF predicts that the weakening of the pound triggered by the UK's Leave vote on 23 June will result in exports remaining strong in H2 2016.

This is supported by anecdotal evidence from French export specialists, Sutralis, who say that the number of British businesses looking to break into the French market is growing despite the Brexit sword of Damocles hanging over businesses' heads.

"Many fabulous opportunities exist within the retail market," director and founder of Sutralis, Philippe Demarest, said.

"The UK is an extremely important market for the French food and drink sector, and we are getting more and more enquiries from British brands keen to explore new market opportunities. Brexit has had no impact on the number of enquiries we've received."

Behind Ireland, France is the biggest market for UK food and drink exports (FDF data).

Demarest predicts this will continue into 2017.