Friday, June 5, 2020

Strong international growth ahead as UK firms shrug off Brexit uncertainty

Companies in the UK are optimistic about their international business prospects, with almost three in four expecting their exports and imports to increase over the next 12 months, according to a report from HSBC.

A survey of more than 6,000 companies in 25 markets reveals strong resilience and optimism among the UK firms, with their positive sentiment edging ahead of the European (ex-UK) average of 71%.

Top markets UK enterprises are targeting for growth include the US (19% of respondents), Germany (15%) and France (13%).

This sentiment is mirrored in HSBC’s new trade forecast, which predicts the value of UK goods and services exports (benchmarked in US dollars) will increase by about 10% in 2018 to US$900 billion – the fastest pace of growth since 2011 – and will average growth of about 7% a year to 2020.

Nor are UK companies expecting to slow down as the country transitions out of the European Union. Whilst 38% believe Brexit will have a negative impact on their business activities, a combined 62% are more sanguine – 33% believing Brexit will be positive for them and 29% saying they don’t think it will impact them.

Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking for HSBC UK, said: “The combined survey and forecast data we’ve gathered both point towards a really strong near-term outlook for UK exporters and importers.

“Undeterred by future post-EU uncertainty, businesses clearly aim to capitalise on the cheaper pound and rising demand in key markets to boost their overseas sales.

“Whatever the future holds, we will continue helping British businesses to navigate international markets to find new and exciting opportunities for growth.”

Dr Liam Fox, the UK’s International Trade Secretary, said: “This report highlights the growing confidence of UK businesses to export globally, with recent statistics showing UK exports at a record high and the trade deficit narrowing by £12.8 billion in 2017.

“The IMF predicts 90% of global growth in the coming years will come from outside the EU, and this government is putting the UK in a position to benefit.

“As an international economic department, we will continue to support businesses of all sizes to seize the huge opportunities which exist in growing markets around the world.”

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