We’ve had enough of exports

Some stories are doing the rounds about an up-tick in exports following the slump of the pound, which supposedly indicates that brexit is great.

The important thing to remember about the pound’s depreciation is that we import far more than we export, so for every one winner on the export front, there are multiple losers on the import front. Now, to some degree, our trade will be re-balanced by a weaker pound, but in the short term, it absolutely will harm more than it helps – that’s just arithmetic.

But something else to remember is that exports don’t exist in isolation. In fact, a surprisingly large chunk of the UK’s exports are things like electronics, machinery and cars, which can’t be produced without first importing raw materials and equipment, which just got more expensive.

Therefore a weaker currency always means more expensive imports, but it does not necessarily mean more profitable exports.

Brexiters don’t tend to mention this minor inconvenience.


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