The Sterling Crisis: Exporters set to reap immediate benefits: Business response

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S 40,000 exporters stand to reap immediate benefits from the devaluation of the pound as home-produced goods become more competitive overseas.

Trade experts predicted that companies in the clothing, drinks, motor and pharmaceuticals industries would be among the first to prosper. However, the effects of the lower pound would take longer to feed through to exporters of engineering goods.

Profits of oil companies, such as Shell and BP, are likely to rise because oil is priced in dollars. Aerospace firms such as British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce are likely to benefit since all commercial aircraft are sold in dollars.

But Ian Campbell, director-general of the Institute of Export, warned: 'After a while, the import price of raw materials and capital goods used by industry will begin to rise so the competitive edge we are getting from lower selling prices will diminish.'

Jaguar, the luxury car maker, which relies upon the United States for 60 per cent of its exports, said: 'From our point of view the pound/dollar relationship is the key one because the US is our biggest market so if sterling were to fall long term that would clearly benefit us.'

Clive Strowger, chief executive of APV, the food process plant maker, said the devaluation would enable the company to bid for contracts whose prices were previously unattractive. Tony Greener, chief executive of Guinness, said a degree of stability in the system was needed 'so people can plan and operate business'.

British Steel is likely to be adversely affected since it buys all its imported iron ore in dollars. However, this will be offset by the fact that it exports pounds 1.2bn worth of steel products to the rest of the EC, where prices are set in marks.