Currency risks and access to suppliers top list of international trade concerns

Small and medium businesses expect to face overseas growth challenges over the coming year but are "more bullish" about trade levels

Currency risks and access to suppliers are among the main challenges facing small and medium-sized enterprises when it comes to growing overseas, new research from AFEX reports.

Surveying 465 small business decision makers from the UK, Australia, Canada and the US, the research found that 43% of small firms see currency risks as the most “significant challenge” to trading internationally-an increase of 11% on 2014-followed by finding the right suppliers and customers (31%).

Other international trade concerns listed by small businesses were making and receiving payments (13%), due diligence (4%) and legal and regulatory differences (4%). Tax was listed as the least concern for trading overseas (1%).

Despite uncertainty overseas growth, UK companies were found to be more bullish about their prospects for international trade this year than they were in 2014 with 46% expecting an increase in global trade levels in 2015-up from just 26% in 2014.

Only 12% of UK small and medium businesses intend to reduce their levels of international trade this year.

AFEX CEO, Jan Vlietstra, said: “Access to international markets has never been easier for small and medium-sized businesses but clearly currency risk is a huge challenge.

“Businesses of all sizes need to be alert to the impact currency fluctuations can have on their profitability and take action to mitigate that risk and protect their bottom lines.”

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