LONDON, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Confidence falls in May following news of a double-dip recession
- 81 percent of SMEs see no improvement in credit availability
- Little boost expected from the Olympic Games
- Exports to emerging markets offer a glimmer of hope
The confidence of Britain's small and medium sized importers and exporters has nosedived. The latest data from the Western Union Business Solutions International Trade Monitor (ITM) released today revealed UK SME confidence has re-entered negative levels.
In the period March to May 2012 rising SME confidence in the UK economy dropped from 58 percent in April (the highest figure recorded since June 2011) to 49 percent in May. The fall followed the announcement that the UK is in a double-dip recession. SME importers and exporters in London were the hardest hit, with their confidence dropping from 60 percent to 40 percent over the same period.
Neil Graham, Managing Director, UK, for Western Union Business Solutions, says:
"SME confidence has dropped from the cautious rebound we saw last quarter. News of the UK entering a double-dip recession was a big blow; London confidence in particular has taken a bath.
"The fall in confidence levels back to negative territory is very worrying for the UK economy. SMEs have to contend with the prospect of a return to recession at home and increasingly turbulent markets abroad."
Access to credit continued to add to SME worries; the ITM revealed that 81 percent of SMEs have seen no improvement in credit availability. The launch of the Government's National Loan Guarantee Scheme seems to have made little impact. 52 percent of SMEs are aware of the programme, an improvement of 11 percent over awareness of Project Merlin last quarter. 77 percent believe that it will make no difference in their ability to obtain credit.
Additionally, only 17 percent of SMEs believe credit in general is easier to obtain now than it was a year ago while their likelihood to renew or request lines of credit has fallen to ten percent - the lowest figure recorded thus far.
Graham continues: "The continued lack of credit available to small businesses is a real challenge. Despite the Government's efforts, over 80 percent of SMEs haven't noticed an improvement in credit over the last year - a year that has not been noted for great access to credit in the first place. Liquidity remains a big challenge for small businesses as their cash flow continues to dry up."
Hopes of Olympic boost fail to materialize
SMEs do not expect to benefit from the Olympic Games, with only 15 percent believing they will have a positive impact on their business. 67 percent believe they will have no impact, with eight percent expecting a negative one. SMEs in London were slightly more optimistic, with 20 percent indicating the Games would have a positive impact on their business. 60 percent of the capital's SMEs expect no impact, 11 percent a negative one.
Exporters with customers in emerging economies increase
Despite falling confidence in trade conditions there are signs the Government's efforts to boost exports are yielding results, particularly in the manufacturing and wholesale industries.
Exporters with customers in Africa rose six percent compared to the previous quarter and those with customers in India increased by four percent, indicating exporters are looking for opportunities outside of the eurozone. In addition to this, exporters with customers in Brazil and other countries in South America recorded a three percent rise.
Graham continues: "The Government's efforts to boost exports are welcome and seem to be yielding positive results. With continuing economic turmoil on the cards, however, our customers are looking for ways to protect themselves as much as possible. It's no wonder that they are feeling anxious. The situation in Europe is precarious and what happens there will of course impact the global economy."
Notes to Editors:
About Western Union Business Solutions
Western Union Business Solutions enables companies of all sizes to send and receive international payments and manage foreign exchange, creating unique solutions tailored to suit their FX needs. It is a business unit of the Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leading nonbank provider of cross border payments, which operates its Business Solutions services through locally licensed affiliates in 25 countries. Supported by a network of trading offices, strategic banking relationships and a global clearing network, businesses can send cross-border payments in more than 135 currencies. © 2012 Western Union Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
Western Union Business Solutions services in the UK are provided by Custom House Financial (UK) Limited or Travelex Global Business Payments. Custom House Financial (UK) Limited (registered in England, Company Number 04380026, 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: 517165) for the provision of payment services and is registered as an MSB with HM Revenue & Customs (Registered No: 12140130). Travelex Global Business Payments Limited (registered in England, Company Number 02854737, Registered Office Address: 65 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6TD) is authorised by the Financial Services Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (Register Reference: 536611) for the provision of payment services and is registered as an MSB with HM Revenue & Customs (Registered No: 12122416).
"Travelex" is a registered trademark of Travellers Exchange Corporation Limited and is used by Travelex Global Business Payments Limited and its affiliates under license
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of April 24, 2012, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2011, The Western Union Company completed 226 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $81 billion of principal between consumers, and 425 million business payments. For more information, visit http://www.westernunion.com.
SOURCE Western Union Business Solutions