Middle East trade holds up despite strong pound


Britain's trade effort in the Middle East held up last year despite the strong pound and falling oil prices in the final quarter eroding confidence among exporters. According to the latest HMRC data, total UK exports to the region exceeded £18bn for the whole of 2014, only slightly lower than the previous year when crude averaged above $80 a barrel. Qatar and Egypt were leading markets for British companies in the Middle East, and each saw British trade up more than 10% on the previous year. Trade with Iran - where companies are prohibited from working under nuclear sanctions - also saw a dramatic increase. UK companies exported £96.6m worth of goods and services to the Islamic republic last year, up 17.5% on the figures for 2013.


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