By Daniel Hunter

As the coalition continues its efforts to rebalance the UK economy a new report from foreign exchange specialists HiFX shows that businesses remain concerned by macro-economic factors beyond their control.

The latest Business Sentiment survey by HiFX amongst UK importers and exporters has revealed that almost four in ten (36%) are undertaking more Foreign Exchange transactions than six months ago. In fact HiFX data shows that corporate transactional volumes have gone from strength to strength increasing by 24% in the last six months of 2012 from (£145 million) to £180 million for the first six months of 2013. Not only are UK corporates transacting foreign currency more often, they are transacting more every time they trade.

When asked why they had changed their FX activity over the last six months, 40% of importers/exporters said they were trying to take advantage of currency movements, and 33% said they were trying to protect their company against volatility.

When it came to corporates’ biggest concerns for their business, the biggest fear for the next 12 — 18 months is the impact of other countries economic positions (38% of corporates said this was the case), nearly a quarter (23%) said it was unpaid invoices.

“Nearly four in ten UK companies who import and export goods have become more active in the foreign exchange markets over the course of the last six months," Jason Gaywood, director of corporate services at HiFX, said.

"We believe this more active interest is coming from the fact that businesses say their biggest concern over the next year-18 months is not the state of their own finances but the macro-economic climate they find themselves in.

"Despite being confident, we know that import/export businesses of all sizes continue to face unprecedented pressures on their bottom line but it’s clear that despite a burst of renewed confidence this year the biggest concerns still remain issues with the UK, Eurozone and the perceived instability of other countries and trading partners.”

The report further reveals that despite a difficult economic climate and concerns about the stability of other countries, nearly nine in ten (86%) importers and exporters say they are currently confident about their business.

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