UK SME global trade figures stumbled in Q1, say WorldFirst

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According to the latest Global Trade Barometer from World First, there has been a significant slowdown in international trade, as UK SMEs transferred 17% less on average per currency transaction in Q1 2017 versus Q4 2016. That’s a fall from £48,000 to just £39,000 in a quarter.

And there are other signs of businesses being more cautious about international trade. Two thirds (64%) of SMEs said they did not make a foreign currency transaction in Q1 2017. That’s a significant decrease from 28% in Q4 2016 who did make an international transfer.

Is this the result of the Brexit vote coming through? Is there greater uncertainty about the future of international trade? Either way these are quite alarming figures.

Jeremy Cook at WorldFirst says: “The fall in trading by UK SMEs clearly shows us that SMEs are doing less trade abroad. Higher costs of importing materials and squeezed margins are seeing businesses pull back from international trade. Whilst fewer transactions of less value might be less risky for businesses, it could have a negative impact for the UK economy going forward.”

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