Nigeria and India are the UK’s fastest growing export destinations but Europe gets most British goods

New research from Santander reveals that Britain’s fastest growing export markets lie outside the EU, with only one European nation making the top five

Nigeria and India are the UK’s fastest growing export destinations but Europe gets most British goods

Brexit is certainly creating a lot of concerns for UK businesses and has caused a lot of frustration in general. However, while the UK is still seemingly undecided about what kind of relationship it wants with the EU, new research reveals that British exports greatly increased outside the continent last year. 

Having analysed recent ONS data, financial services provider Santander Corporate & Commercial has found out what the fastest growing export destinations for the UK were in 2018. Nigeria and India were the two countries that increased their imports from Blighty the most. Nigeria increased its imports from Blighty by 27%, giving it a worth of about £1.63bn. India increased by 24% and the UK exports to the country is worth £5.5bn. The largest exports to Nigeria were mineral fuels and oils, consisting of 45% of British exports to the country. The largest exports to India were gems and jewellery, worth $900m, which saw a 300% increase from 2017. 

That being said, EU countries Greece and The Netherlands were the third and sixth fastest growing receivers of UK exports in 2018. They grew by 21% and 17% respectively. Thailand came fourth and grew its UK imports by 19%. For Taiwan, which came fifth, that figure was 18%. Even though exports to the States only grew by 7%, the USA is still the top country for UK exports, worth almost £55bn.

Despite exports to Europe only increasing by 3%, it remained the biggest market for UK goods with more than £189.2bn being exported to Europe in 2018. Over £167.8bn of that trade was inside the EU. Comparatively, the UK exported goods worth £63bn to Asia and the Pacific and £61bn to North America in the same period.

No wonder then that additional Santander Corporate & Commercial research has revealed fast growth businesses still consider the EU as the best opportunity for international growth. Its research into trailblazers demonstrates that 31% of high growth businesses plan to increase their sales within the EU within the next year. 

John Carroll, head of international at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “It’s exciting to see British companies embracing new international trade opportunities, not just with established trading superpowers like the US, Germany and Japan but also in evolving markets such as India and Nigeria. Taking the leap into a new and less traditional market can seem daunting at first but we know that companies who trade internationally often have stronger growth prospects and are more resilient against economic uncertainty at home.”

It’s comforting to know that, despite Brexit, Britain is expanding its global trade elsewhere. 

Louisa Cook
Louisa Cook

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