BCC warns SME exporters ‘under tightening pressure’

February 10, 2023

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that export are facing ‘tightening pressure’ as a result of decreasing export sales.

  • Most Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) exporters report no improvement to exports, with 27% reporting decreased export sales in the quarter and 47% reporting no change.
  • Only 26% of SME exporters saw increased export sales
  • The picture for future orders is even weaker with 28% reporting a decrease against 24% an increase
  • Three biggest cost pressures for SME exporters are energy (72%), labour (67%) and raw materials (61%).

A survey of more than 2,300 UK SME 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%) than are reporting an increase (26%).

Just over a third of SME exporters (36%) expect to see increased profitability in the next 12 months, while an almost equal  number (35%) expect a decrease.

The BCC’s quarterly Trade Confidence Outlook for Q4 2022 also showed the squeeze on SMEs exporters operating margins remains, with 64% 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.

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