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Time to go east and south west

You're lucky this column isn't a blank space today, what with the hoards of bargain hunters your correspondent had to fight through to get to the business desk.

This is also a hectic time of year for pubs and restaurants.

For other businesses outside these seasonally busy sectors the period between Christmas and New Year is one which provides a bit of time for reflection.

It's certainly been quite a 12 months.

We started the year full of optimism that the worst of the downturn was over.

But the mood soon changed from optimism to stoicism. The eurozone's woes are obviously partly to blame for the blip on the road to recovery.

For a region such as Northern Ireland's which relies so heavily on exports to the Irish Republic it's been particularly damaging.

Our exporters need to get inventive and source markets further afield. But where?

A brief glance at The Economist's table of gross domestic product (GDP) growth by country shows pretty obvious targets.

China, Vietnam, Estonia, Argentina and Turkey all have GDP growth above 7% per year.

Compare that to pitiful growth of our current biggest export market the eurozone, where growth is expected to reach only 1.4%.

So, this year we should be focusing on exporting east (or south west for Argentina). It may be a crude method of boosting turnover but you have to start somewhere.