A survey of more than 2,300 UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) exporters has revealed UK overseas trade continues to languish as the global economy heads into another difficult year.
More SME exporters are continuing to report falling export sales (27 per cent) than are reporting an increase (26 per cent).
Just over a third of SME exporters (36 per cent) expect to see increased profitability in the next 12 months, while an almost equal number (35 per cent) expect a decrease.
The survey also showed the squeeze on SME exporters operating margins remains, with 64 per cent expecting to raise their prices.
Three main cost pressures continue to dominate as utilities, labour costs and raw materials are again the biggest concerns cited by exporters.
The figures are published in the British Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly Trade Confidence Outlook for Q4 2022
BCC Head of Trade Policy William Bain said: “Last autumn the World Trade Organisation forecast global trade growth of just 1 per cent in 2023, down from 3 per cent in 2022. This is creating huge headwinds for smaller UK firms battered by the pandemic, Brexit and energy price shocks.
“China’s sudden full reopening may also create additional supply chain turbulence this year, should the Covid pandemic continue to impact health and economic output.
“Against this background it could be sometime before the global shipping and trading systems returns to anything approaching normality.
“The UK government cannot afford to sit idly by as we head into such uncertain trading conditions.
“It must throw a lifeline to our struggling exporters who are desperately trying to keep their heads above water.”
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