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Number of SMEs trading overseas has doubled

The number of British SMEs investing in export activity has doubled over the past year, according to a report from business funder Bibby Financial Services (BFS).

The latest SME confidence tracker, which looks at the investment intentions, sales performance and confidence of SMEs, found that 15 per cent of SMEs invested in trading overseas in the third quarter of 2016, up from 8 per cent over the same period last year.

Threat

According to the tracker, 22 per cent of businesses have invested in trading overseas over the past three months, up from 15 per cent in the second quarter of 2016.

The decreasing value of the British pound has provided more opportunities for exporters. However, the tracker showed that 51 per cent of businesses believe that a weaker pound will be a significant threat to their business over the next year.

The tracker also revealed what SMEs are focusing on the most for investment, with staff training being the main focus in the third quarter of the year at 35 per cent.

Resilience

Commenting on the report, BFS Global Chief Executive, David Postings, said: “It’s clear that SMEs want to get back to business after an unsettled first half of the year and it’s encouraging to see more SMEs looking overseas to unlock growth.”

He added: “While many SMEs are concerned about the falling pound, we’ve seen a range of positive data over the summer that show a resilience in the UK economy. Many firms are now taking advantage of the fall in sterling to build their export capability, particularly those who manufacture within the UK.”


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