International Trade Monitor

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1 British Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Split Over Health of the UK Economy Overall SME importer and exporter confidence sees dip in Q1 Increase in SMEs hurt by sterling volatility Eurozone concerns continue but SME appetite for British involvement in the EU remains Exports to emerging markets remain strong post-christmas Confidence in the UK economy remains divided SME confidence in the strength of the British economy remained relatively steady with 54% of SMEs expressing some level of confidence in it, with 45% having little or no confidence. Over one third of SMEs (35%) feel the UK economy has worsened over the last six months, compared to 29% last quarter. This figure matches a 6% drop in SMEs who feel things have improved (9% in Q compared to 15% in Q4 2012). Most SMEs, however, seem to have adapted to economic uncertainty as the new norm with 55% indicating things have remained stable. 35% of SMEs have seen British economic conditions negatively impact the international trade aspect of their business, a rise of 5% from last quarter. One third of SMEs hurt by fluctuating currency movements 32% of SMEs surveyed are being negatively impacted by fluctuating exchange rates, up 12% from Q4, with 16% being positively affected by it. Over half of SMEs surveyed would like to see the pound strengthen (54%), with only 16% indicating they would like to see it fall further. SMEs concerned about currency volatility have jumped to the highest levels seen since Q4 2011, with 61% now worried about it compared to 49% in Q4. 46% of SMEs surveyed, however, are not familiar with the tools available to mitigate against currency risk, with a corresponding 39% indicating they do nothing to protect against fluctuating exchange rates. Of the products used, spot payments (used by 31% of SMEs surveyed) and forward payments (used by 29%) remain the most popular. JONATHAN REES Regional Divisional Director, UK, for Western Union Business Solutions, says: We have seen a turbulent first quarter with reasons for optimism and pessimism dividing opinion. The split between small businesses views on the health of the UK economy suggests that while some SMEs are doing well and recovering, others are struggling in the face of cheaper international competition, decreasing sales and increasing production costs. British SMEs are right to be concerned about currency volatility. While a weaker pound could help exporters, it will also have an impact on production and import costs. The majority of exporters we spoke to also import, which means more must be done to help SMEs manage their international cash flow and ensure that potential gains made by a weaker pound are not offset by equal or greater losses. Overall concerns rise across the board Worries about Eurozone instability rose to 60% whilst concern about SMEs reduced budgets increased to 51% (a 6% and 7% point growth from Q4 respectively). Domestic concerns have also increased, with 45% of SMEs now worried about Government austerity measures compared to 33% in Q4. Concerns about the UK s balance of trade have risen 6% to 18%. The top three concerns for SMEs are the overall health of the global economy (the perennial occupier of the number one spot with a steady 79%), cheaper competitors (a regular runner-up at 64%) and currency volatility (a renewed entry to the top three at 61%).

2 Growth in Exports to Emerging Markets Remains Q1 exports maintain momentum following dramatic rise in Q4 The fourth quarter of 2012 saw the largest rise in exports to emerging and established markets since the International began and the first quarter of 2013 has seen that momentum continue. Europe remains the largest buyer of British goods; small business exporters with customers on the Continent remains steady at 79%. SMEs with customers in North America and Australia fell by 6 per cent and 9 per cent respectively. The number of SMEs with customers to all other parts of the world, however, has remained steady, indicating that the dramatic increase seen at the end of 2012 was not a one-time occurrence. 15% and 14% of SMEs sell to China and India respectively, with 28% trading with other Asian countries. 9% have customers in Brazil with 12% finding customers in other South American economies. 10% sell to Russia and 18% to countries in Africa. In addition, 42% of the SMEs who do currently trade with emerging markets expect their cross-border trade with them to expand in the next 6-12 months while almost one third (29%) of those who do not are looking to expand their business to include them the highest number on record. Confidence in the Government s efforts to boost international trade has also remained steady, with 42% expressing confidence in Coalition policy. Eurozone worries return after brief respite Nearly half of SMEs are being affected by the Eurozone crisis (45%) while nearly all respondents expect the situation to either remain the same (42%) or get worse (41%), with only 17% expecting things to improve. Of the SMEs that indicated they were impacted by the Eurozone crisis, 53% said they were concerned by rising operational costs, with difficulty converting cash reserves from euros to sterling (46%) and disrupted cash flow (39%) the second and third biggest worries affecting them. Appetite for trade with Europe, however, remains steady with the vast majority of SMEs (89%), expecting their trade levels with European partners to remain unchanged or even increase. Moreover, 76% of SMEs wish to stay in the European Union in some form, with only 9% indicating they would prefer to exit the EU. Credit outlook remains foggy Issues around credit availability to SMEs remain complex. The number of SMEs who said they are unlikely to renew or request lines of credit has risen to 79% the highest number seen to date. In Q this number was 74%, a distinct jump from the rest of 2012 where the figure had stayed steady at 64-65% throughout the first three quarters. Confidence in the Coalition s plans to bring together existing finance schemes under the umbrella of the Business Bank remains low, with 66% thinking the new policy unlikely to help their ability to obtain credit. The number of SMEs who are looking at alternative ways of raising finance has remained steady at 18%. However, of those SMEs looking at alternative financing, those considering using personal savings (36%) now outnumber those looking at asset-based financing (30%), the first time that has happened. Asset-based financing has dropped from the number one spot to number three, with factoring accounts receivables now at number two (33%). JONATHAN REES CONTINUED We saw a dramatic rise in exports in the last quarter of 2012 and it is good to see those numbers have remained steady, especially ahead of tomorrow s figures about the balance of trade. We believe this is a positive sign that UK SMEs are diversifying their businesses and international trade partners to guard against weak domestic consumption as well as continued economic uncertainty in the Eurozone, which has risen again on the back of the situation in Cyprus. SMEs are either forging international relationships themselves or using Government services to reach new markets. Wise SMEs are looking at the wider global outlook as they see little hope for the Eurozone crisis to improve over the coming year.

3 Western Union Business Solutions International (ITM) The International is the only piece of research available that tracks the confidence and sentiment of Britain s SME importers and exporters and has been running since March 2010 as the Travelex Confidence Index. The research is now conducted on behalf of Western Union Business Solutions, a unit of the Western Union Company (NYSE: WU). Overall Confidence Current Situation Monitor Global Outlook Monitor Expectations Monitor SUB-MONITORS The Western Union Business Solutions International measures the overall confidence of the UK s importers and exporters by tracking their views across three sub-monitors: the Current Situation Monitor, the Global Outlook Monitor and the Expectations Monitor. THE CURRENT SITUATION MONITOR The Current Situation Monitor measures importers and exporters views on current economic conditions and availability of business credit. The monitor fell from 101 in October (the highest number recorded since June 2011) to 91 in January. Confidence, however, remains higher than the lows seen in August-September 2012 with hopes of a US-led global economic recovery offering businesses a more reassuring environment for international trade this year. The overall drop in the first quarter reflects gloomy economic conditions at home, underlined by the loss of Britain s prized triple-a credit rating. The threat of a triple-dip recession and dramatic sterling fluctuations also weighed on business confidence, leading Bank of England Governor Mervyn King to step in and try and draw a line under the pound s fall with his comments in March. THE GLOBAL OUTLOOK MONITOR The Global Outlook Monitor measures importers and exporters views on trading conditions. This index also fell from 18-month highs seen in October 2012, averaging 102 throughout the first quarter compared to 108 in Q The re-emergence of Eurozone risks and the prospect of contagion troubling the single currency area once again have impacted this monitor. While recent leadership changes in the US and China have underpinned global business confidence over the past few months, it appears that political change in the Eurozone has, and may continue to have, the opposite effect. Policymakers in Europe stepped up efforts to bring stability back to both European and global financial markets at the end of last year but current political gridlock in Italy and the Cypriot banking crisis are reasons for businesses to feel more cautious. THE EXPECTATIONS MONITOR The Expectations Monitor measures importers and exporters views on whether international trade conditions will improve over the next 6-12 months, and whether their business will see growth in its international activity. This monitor stayed virtually unchanged, averaging 96.7 throughout Q compared to 97 in Q Steady expectations about international trading conditions over the coming months corresponds with continued monetary policy activism and economic growth projections from leading economies. Outperformance from the United States in particular stands out. While there are still risks, the good news coming from the world s largest economy gives businesses reason to expect an increase in trading opportunities.

4 Demographics Overseas Suppliers Business location China 32 England 88 India 13 Scotland 5 Other Asia 19 Northern Island 5 Russia 3 Wales 2 Other 1 Europe 74 North America 23 Industry sector Brazil 4 Other South America 5 Africa 6 Australasia 6 Other 3 Manufacturing Wholesale Trade /Retail Trade Construction Business Services (Not Banking) Transport/Storage 2 Overseas Customers Communications 2 China 15 Other 16 India 14 Other Asia 28 Source: Q18b. In which of the following locations are the majority of your overseas customers based? Russia 10 Europe 79 North America 33 Brazil 9 Other South America 12 Africa 18 Australasia 18 Other 6

5 The exchange rate is pushing the cost up of raw materials and I just have to accept it. Importer and Exporter, Manufacturing Growth of emerging markets like China and India mean we have a lot of projected sales in these areas but a lot of regulations could reduce sales. The Eurozone crisis is the biggest challenge we face at the moment we need to ensure our customers pay on time which can be difficult. Chasing up payments from our European customers can cause issues. Customers cash flow and lack of spending is another problem. The biggest challenge is getting customers through the door. Importer, Wholesale/Retail Trade Expanding the overseas market [is a challenge]. The expenses are high [and] we have to balance the cost of achieving the sales. Exporter, Manufacturing We buy most of our materials in Europe and cash flow [is a challenge] as well as the banks asking us to bring our overdrafts limits down. Importer, Wholesale/Retail Trade [My concern is] what the euro is doing and the pound; how the exchange rate will work out for us Western Union Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved. [I m worried about] Government spending caps in the Euro zone on research projects and budget freezes in the US since Importer and Exporter, Manufacturing Competitors are trying to undercut us; we do a lot of internet business and some are selling the same things as us so you have to vary your prices to fit with their position to make sure you get the business. Lack of funds is an issue for our particular business if people are tightening their belts the first thing to go would probably be what we sell. I m worried about cash flow. Western Union Business Solutions is a division of The Western Union Company. Services in the UK are provided by Custom House Financial (UK) Limited (which does business under the trade name of Western Union Business Solutions) or Western Union Business Solutions (UK) Limited (collectively referred to as WUBS or Western Union Business Solutions ). Custom House Financial (UK) Limited (registered in England, Company Number , Registered Office Address: 2nd Floor, 12 Appold Street, London EC2A 2AW) is authorised by the Financial Services Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (Register Reference: ) for the provision of payment services and is registered as an MSB with HM Revenue & Customs (Registered No: ). Western Union Business Solutions (UK) Limited (registered in England, Company Number , Registered Office Address: 65 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6TD) is authorised by the Financial Services Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (Register Reference: ) for the provision of payment services and is registered as an MSB with HM Revenue & Customs (Registered No: ). This brochure has been prepared solely for informational purposes and does not in any way create any binding obligations on either party. Relations between you and WUBS shall be governed by the applicable terms and conditions. No representations, warranties or conditions of any kind, express or implied, are made in this brochure.

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