The fifth DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the UK’s exporting health, reveals that expectations for the “super summer” of 2012 has been overshadowed by the Eurozone crisis and concerns around currency fluctuations.

The report, which draws on a survey of over a thousand exporters and an analysis of export documentation (required of all companies exporting goods outside the EU) found that 40% of firms stated that exchange rates were a concern, showing the Eurozone crisis’ impact in terms of UK competitiveness and the buoyancy of one of its biggest markets.

A net balance of just +21% of firms felt profitability would increase in the coming 12 months, down from +30% the previous quarter, with falling profitability expectations across all firm sizes.

These results were in spite of a summer of celebrations and high hopes for the economic impact of the summer on exporters. They are in stark contrast to research conducted in 2010 by DHL, which found that 56% of businesses anticipated that the focus on London over this period will create greater global demand for British goods. 

However, the latest Trade Confidence Index showed an increase in the number of firms reporting an increase in export orders, up from +39% in Q1 to +49% in Q2.

Phil Couchman, CEO of DHL Express UK and Ireland said:

"SMEs’ concerns around exchange rates and profitability highlight that there is still more to be done in terms of support for British businesses who are venturing into overseas markets.”   

“But recent export figures are strong, and there is reason to believe that the “super summer” - a once in a lifetime opportunity that will put British businesses firmly in the spotlight - could present a fantastic opportunity to make inroads internationally.”

“To sustain momentum, businesses large and small should start thinking now about how best to serve this international audience once the events are over, by initiating an export programme for their goods and services to reach that target market.  

“The worries highlighted in the report show that businesses should seek advice from professionals with a local presence who can provide specialist insight.”

John Longworth commented:

“Business concerns about the Eurozone have increased in the last quarter, and it’s no wonder. In the last few months we have seen two General Elections in Greece, a bailout of Spanish lender Bankia, and sovereign borrowing costs creeping up to dangerously high levels yet again.  

“But there is a silver lining. Businesses have seen an increase in export orders in the last quarter, despite concerns about the Eurozone. While the EU is our main trading partner, UK businesses are looking to trade in new markets. According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, more than half of British exports in the three months to May went to countries outside the EU, an increase of 13% on the same quarter last year.

“These results are encouraging, but we need to find ways to make our businesses think global, and provide them with the support they need to break into new markets. Businesses are still concerned with being able to access the appropriate finance to help them to break into new markets. Export growth is vital, not only to help to boost the UK economy, but to show the world that Britain remains a major global competitor and a nation to do business with.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

*The report also includes a full country guide to Brazil.

DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index
The DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index (TCI) is a measure of the UK’s exporting health. Through analysis of trends in trading activity and key factors of exporting firms’ performance, the TCI gives a truly comprehensive picture of the UK’s internationally trading business community. Indicators include those relating to employment, investment and confidence, as well as painting a picture of regional exporting performance.

1944 exporters were surveyed between 21 May and 13 June 2012.

Results are represented by either a balance figure or a pure percentage figure. Balance figures are determined by subtracting the percentage of companies reporting decreases in a factor from the percentage of companies reporting increases. Where a balance figure is positive it represents growth; where it is negative it represents contraction.    

DHL
DHL is the global market leader in the logistics industry and “The Logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, contract logistics and international mail services to its customers. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and about 275,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting climate protection, disaster management and education.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. The Group generated revenue of more than 51 billion euros in 2010. For more information: www.dp-dhl.com

The British Chambers of Commerce
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media contacts
DHL Express
uk.pressoffice@dhl.com
0207 908 6581
Out of hours: Gemma Hinksman on 07968318149

British Chambers of Commerce
Liz Larvin
l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk
020 7654 5813 / 0782574 6812