Boom predicted for British exporters

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The Independent Online
A REVIVAL of British exports could eliminate the balance of payments deficit before the end of the decade, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research in a report published today.

Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the centre, said: 'We are about to see the fastest sustained period of growth in world trade since the 1970s.' The gains in exports would be outside Europe, such as the fast-growing Asian economies.

Consumer demand at home would grow relatively slowly, limiting the growth of imports. Professor McWilliams said: 'This will be the righting of the wrongs of the past decade, when the economy was driven by consumption and financed by oil.'

Manufacturing industry was likely to be the fastest-growing sector of the economy in the next three years. The share of exports in gross domestic product would rise from 28 per cent in 1990 to 36 per cent by 1997.

A Lloyds Bank analysis suggests that greater competitiveness means Britain's export prospects are the best for a decade.

It says the cost of labour for every unit of output produced in Britain improved 15 per cent relative to costs in other countries in 1993, while the 9 per cent fall in the pound's value against other currencies also helped competitiveness.