BFM: Increase in value of UK manufactured furniture

    The total value of exports of UK manufactured furniture has increased by nearly 20% according to the latest overseas trade review by British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM).

    The report, based on the sectors performance throughout 2017, revealed that exports to the EU had risen by 19.6%, with similar percentage increases when categorised between EU and non-EU countries.

    Said Mike Dimond, BFM's director of employment and membership: "Despite improvement in the total value of exports, our review also highlights that the trade deficit between imports and exports of all furniture grew from £4.3 billion in 2016 to £4.6 billion in 2017.

    "It showed that all sectors reported an increase in export levels, with kitchen furniture reporting the highest level of overall growth at 50.5%, with exports to non-EU countries increasing by 86.6% and 6.1% to EU countries."

    The BFM report shows that within the EU, France is the favourite destination for exports of all UK manufactured furniture, rising by 50% in the year to reach a value of £316 million.

    However, in the traditional areas of furniture - apart from office and shop furniture - the Republic of Ireland topped all EU exporting destinations, with exports totalling £296 million, an increase of 7% on 2016.

    Outside the EU, the USA tops the table in every furniture category, showing a value of £645 million, a rise of 21% in the year. However, exports to China rose by 78% to £147 million, and Hong Kong by 107% to £96 million.

    With regards to incoming product, the BFM notes that there was an 11% increase in furniture imports with little difference between the performances of EU countries compared to non-EU countries.

    While China dominates in all sectors for imports from outside the EU - seeing an increase of 3% to reach a value of £2.1 billion - Italy topped the list of EU counties with a rise of 15% over the year.

    However, the most notable improvement in imports came from the USA, the value growing by 51% to £349 million.

    The full BFM furniture trade report is available to members of the association and can be found via the members' area on the site.

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