By Daniel Hunter
Exporters proved just how critical they are to the UK's economic recovery during the second quarter of this year, after UK exporting activity reached a new peak since the recession got a grip in 2007.
The crucial thing now, says Smart Currency Business, is to build on that growth and aid small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to tap into new foreign markets.
Export orders for service sector businesses hit their highest level on record and increased for 50 per cent of firms surveyed as part of The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL report for Q2 2013. Meanwhile, 44 per cent of manufacturing firms grew their export orders during the same period, resulting in the highest figure since Q1 2012.
"These results are certainly encouraging," said Carl Hasty, director at Smart Currency Business, a firm that helps SMEs with international payments.
"However, what we need to see now are joint efforts by the Government and industry to nurture and build on this growth, making it easier for more firms to begin trading internationally, by providing the funding and infrastrucure to enable them to test new markets.
"There's little doubt downward pressure on Sterling against the euro and dollar since the start of the year will have given the UK's exporters a competitive edge this year.
"It's notable though, that despite its overall positivity, the BCC-DHL report also showed that micro firms within the service sector are still experiencing price pressures, with 46 per cent citing this as an issue compared with only 25 per cent in the previous quarter. I would recommend firms in this sector takes a close look at their treasury management and international payment strategy to see where savings could be made."
The BCC-DHL report also showed that nearly half of exporters (48 per cent) said their export sales increased in Q2 2013, compared to 10 per cent who said that they decreased, while 42 per cent of manufacturing firms reported an increase in export sales - up from 36 per cent in Q1. Encouragingly, more than half of exporters (51 per cent) believe that their profitability will increase this year, and 60 per cent believe they will see an increase in turnover.
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