- REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
- Importers have been hit hardest by the Brexit vote, but exporters also appear to be suffering.
- 37% of SMEs trading overseas believe Brexit will be bad for their business, while just 11% trading internationally believe Brexit will benefit them in the next three years.
LONDON – British importers and exporters remain pessimistic about their prospects after Brexit despite the government reaching an agreement with the EU after the first round of talks.
Financial services firm Bibby found that 37% of SMEs trading overseas believe Brexit will be bad for their business, while just 11% trading internationally believe Brexit will benefit them in the next three years. Thirty-six percent say they have already been negatively impacted by the referendum.
While importers – who have been hit hardest due to a fall in the pound’s value – have been hit hardest, the survey also illustrates that exporters appear to be suffering too.
The impact of Brexit according to SMEs
“The effects of Brexit are not binary and exporters are also telling us that widespread uncertainty, falling consumer confidence and currency volatility are affecting them,” said Bibby’s UK chief executive Edward Winterton.
The ONS said in September that exporters appeared to have “hoarded” the gains from a falling pound by hiking prices, rather than allowing prices to decline in line with the falling pound, meaning sales have not risen as they might be expected to.
“Businesses are heavily intertwined across the single market where they rely on access to customers, suppliers and labour. It’s mission-critical that talks with the EU progress quickly onto the next stage so that the UK can secure the best trade [deal] it can with the EU 27,” said Winterton.
The government agreed to progress to the second phase of Brexit talks with the EU earlier this week after making concessions on key areas of negotiations including the Irish border, EU citizens’ rights, and a “divorce” payment.
The survey was conducted among 500 SMEs with turnover up to £25 million