Wales

Rise in Welsh furniture exports helped by weak pound

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Media captionWeak pound boosts Welsh furniture exports

Welsh furniture manufacturers are benefitting from the weak pound with a growth in exports, figures have shown.

There has been a rise of nearly 7.5% in sales of furniture overseas, with the USA proving the biggest buyer, according to latest statistics from the Welsh Government.

Exports of Welsh furniture, as well as bedding and mattresses, added up to £298m - up from £277m in 2015.

The overall value of Welsh exports totalled £12.3bn.

Prof David Blackaby, from Swansea University's School of Management, said: "The Welsh economy in total has seen a big increase in exports.

"The furniture increase is slightly bigger. This has come about partly because of the fall in the exchange rate which has helped companies that are exporting.

"The companies that are benefitting are the ones offering products you can't get elsewhere.

"It's predicted the domestic market isn't going to be growing quickly in the next couple of years, so if you want to grow your company the export market is the one to target and it is, potentially, an enormous market."

Abaca, a mattress and bedding manufacturer in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, has been making products from Welsh wool for more than a decade.

Managing director Rhiannon Rowley said it was getting more orders from overseas.

"We have picked up new customers in America but also the United Arab Emirates," she said.

"Two percent of our sales are in Wales, the rest is other parts of the UK and a growing overseas market.

"The weak pound has helped. It's encouraged people to look and once they have looked they've discovered that Wales offers the sort of products they can't buy at home."

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