Services will make up half of the value of UK exports by 2026, according to the latest Barclays Trade Index.

The bank has identified 2016 as “a tipping point”, after which British exports will become service-led. The services sector currently represents 44% of exports, but is growing more quickly than goods.

The total value of UK exports is also set to increase from about £536bn in 2016 to just under £880bn in 2026 – well below the £1tn by 2020 target set by the government in 2012. Indeed, the bank expects UK export growth to be weaker in the coming decade than in the past 10 years, going from 5.6% to 5.1% a year. Barclays explains this drop with the general slowdown in global growth and trade in coming years.

Matt Tuck, head of global transaction banking at the bank, says: “These latest findings demonstrate the increasing importance of the UK as a global services hub, in addition to the traditional UK stronghold for goods. The UK is expected to continue performing strongly with higher-value, higher-margin products in the coming years.

“The outlook for global growth, and UK trade, over the coming years may appear more uncertain than it has been for some time, but as always there will be countries continuing to offer opportunities to UK exporters.”

The UK’s fastest-growing export categories over the next decade will be business management and consulting, insurance and pensions, and education, with 98%, 96% and 95% growth forecast respectively.

Within goods trade, chemicals and transport are expected to grow the most, while fuels will become the weakest-performing area of the UK export mix.

The US and Germany will remain the UK’s top export destinations, but emerging markets will rise in importance, particularly China. Indeed, the value of trade to China is expected to jump by 115% between 2016 and 2026, although this is much slower than the 213% growth experienced over the past decade.

“The transatlantic connection leads the way with the US set to remain our largest individual trade partner over the next 10 years with countries in the EU another key export destination for UK companies. Yet, there will also be increasing opportunities for trade with markets such as India and Indonesia, both of which are large markets with strong growth prospects, alongside China, a trade destination which in our Index is forecast to jump to be the UK’s 6th largest export market in 2026, from 16th in 2006,” Tuck adds.

The bank expects the share of exports to the EU to decline gradually as India, Indonesia, Vietnam and the BRIC markets emerge as trading partners for the UK.

According to Barclays, the EU will remain the UK’s largest single trade partner, accounting for 42% of all goods and services exports in 2026, compared to 43% today. However, the report has not investigated the impact of a potential Brexit following the June 23 UK referendum. Asked by GTR, the bank justifies its decision by saying that “such a model would depend on the form of new agreements that the UK negotiates with its major trading partners and on when they come into force”. “However, it goes without saying, trade with Europe will continue to be important regardless of the outcome of the referendum,” the spokesperson adds.