UK firms 'becoming more confident about international trading conditions' Many businesses in Britain rely heavily on international trade, which means the global financial crisis has hit some of them very hard in the last few years.
However, a new survey by Western Union Business Solutions suggests that confidence in worldwide trading conditions appears to be picking up in the UK.
Whereas 56 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) said they were confident about the trading environment around the world in the final quarter of 2011, 65 per cent were positive during the three months to March 2012.
Neil Graham, managing director of Western Union, believes this nine per cent upturn in confidence among importers and exporters represents a "tentative step in the right direction". As a result, there could potentially be an increase in international money transfer activity among smaller businesses over the next few months.
Figures from Western Union also showed that the level of optimism in the UK economy among SMEs is also picking up. Whereas 40 per cent of those polled towards the end of last year expressed a degree of confidence, 47 per cent gave a positive response to this recent poll. Indeed, Mr Graham said it is significant that just 35 per cent of SMEs believe domestic economic conditions are hampering their ability to trade internationally.
"This is a nine per cent drop from the previous quarter and an important step towards an export-led recovery," he commented.
Mr Graham stated that SMEs in Britain have shown themselves to be highly resilient, particularly throughout a winter in which the economic climate was less than favourable.
"Business confidence in the UK has returned to levels last seen prior to the European sovereign debt crisis," he added.
This helps to reinforce the conclusions of a new report by the British Chambers of Commerce, which said there was a "welcome improvement" in the UK's economic situation throughout the first quarter of the year, following a "disappointing" drop in GDP at the end of 2011.