Brexit: UK SMEs international payments increase by 5%

The average SME made international payments of £48,000 in Q1 of 2018, up 5% year on year and the second highest amount recorded in over two years, according to a survey from WorldFirst.

The survey, which took in over 1,000 small and medium sized business, reveals that 1 in 4 SMEs are looking to export to a new country within the next quarter.

The increase on Q1 2017 suggests that UK businesses are coming to terms the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and are seeking to develop new trading partners beyond the European Union.

Both importing and exporting to and from countries outside of the EU, in particular China and the United States, has remained steady throughout the first quarter.

Of the ten markets that saw the largest growth in payments from UK SMEs in Q1 2018, seven are outside the EU including Turkey, Norway, Morocco, Singapore, Russia, Indonesia and the UAE.

In addition, the survey also found that 30% of small business feel positive about their prospects for international growth, a 5% increase on Q4 2017, when confidence in international success was at an all-time-low.

“It is promising to see so many UK SMEs starting to look past their Brexit blues and develop coping strategies to push their exporting aspirations forward,” Jeremy Cook, Chief Economist at WorldFirst said.

“The UK government has not been shy in promoting the benefits of building a nation of exporters over the last year, but this survey shows that more needs to be done to support our smaller businesses.”

Cook argued that supporting SMEs will be vital to ensuring successful trade post-Brexit.

“These SMEs will be our global exporting pioneers post-Brexit and it is vital that the Government and wider industry does all they can to support them. This could mean anything from facilitating connections between UK small businesses and foreign counterparts, to offering advice and training on how to do business and communicate with international trading partners.”

(All figures from YouGov Plc).

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