DHL Reports Australian Exporter Confidence at Highest Level since GFC

By Sam Gopal | 12 Aug 2015

The latest DHL Export Barometer report indicates Australian confidence in exporting is at its highest level since 2011, aided by a weakening dollar.

DHL has released the results of its 2015 DHL Export Barometer suggesting the weakening dollar is allowing Australian businesses to compete more effectively internationally, despite the increasing costs of raw materials.

According to the report, which surveyed 597 Australian exporters, 53 percent of exporters saw increased orders in the past year and 66 percent of Australian exporters expect orders to increase over the coming year.

In addition, the Barometer recorded its highest level of Australian exporter confidence following the global financial crisis (GFC), as lower exchange rates render Australian businesses more competitive internationally and the positive impacts of free trade agreements are realised.

While China leads in expectations of where additional export orders will originate from, forecasts are diversifying with South and Central America also sharing the top spot in this category.

Tim Harcourt, J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics, UNSW & The Airport Economist, explains: “While the Kiwis remain our biggest trading partner with more than half of Aussie businesses surveyed exporting to New Zealand, North America is hot on their heels. There has been a seven percent leap in the past year to 53 percent of Aussie businesses exporting to North America, most likely driven by exchange rate movements.

”As Australian businesses future-gaze, China still tops the ladder in terms of projected increases in exporting. However, that rung is being shared with South and Central America where, despite still being a relatively small export market, 56 percent of exporters predict orders to increase over the next 12 months. A strong trade performance from Pacific Alliance economies in South America likely led to the huge 17 percent leap in expectation for that region from last year.”

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) seems to be gaining popularity with findings suggesting that 46 percent of exporters confident that they can benefit from the deal, an increase of nine percent from 2014.

For exporters, online continues to be the main source for generating customer orders, with three quarters of exporters generating sales online. Of those, 55 percent report increases in their online trade over the past 12 months.

Finally the report found the number of Australian exporters also importing goods is growing at 80 percent.

Gary Edstein, Senior Vice President, DHL Express Oceania said: “The 2015 DHL Export Barometer shows Australian exporter confidence is on the rise. This year, two-thirds of exporters predict an increase in sales over the next 12 months, an increase of five percent from last year and a significant improvement following the GFC when fewer than half of Australian exporters had an optimistic view of the coming year.

“The expectation that company performance will improve has also increased significantly since last year, with 58 percent of exporters predicting higher profitability in the next year. Correspondingly, an increasing number of exporters think the number of employees and wages paid are likely to grow.”

The full report is now accessible through DHL and the key findings are below:

  • Two-thirds (66 percent) of Australian exporters expect orders to increase over the coming year
  • More than half (53 percent) of exporters saw increased orders in the past year
  • North America (53 percent) is creeping up on NZ (57 percent) as top Australian export destination
  • Australian exporters are supporting the push for FTAs, with ChAFTA seen as positive by 49 percent and the TPP growing in popularity
  • Weakening Australian dollar has allowed exporters to compete more effectively with overseas companies
  • A growing number of Australian exporters (80 percent) also importDHL_barometer_2015_480

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