Belfast Telegraph

Figures show drop in SME's exporting goods over the past year

The number of smaller firms exporting goods has fallen over the past year, a report shows.

A survey of over 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) found that only 30% exported in the three months to June, down from just over half a year ago.

Nearly half of those polled by international payments firm World First said they expect to see export volumes stall or even decline, one year on since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

A third of SMEs said they expect to see no business growth at all in 2017.

The gloomy forecast highlights the impact of the uncertain political climate on SME exports and is another indication that the UK's economy is set to slow, said the report.

A Department for International Trade spokesman said: "In 2016/17 we provided £3 billion in exporting support, helping hundreds of UK companies sell to over 60 countries around the world - 79% of these companies were SMEs.

"In total across 2016, UK exports were over £547 billion, up 23% on 2010 and up almost 6% on 2015, and OBR forecasts suggest net trade is expected to boost economic growth in 2017 and 2018."