US Trade Confidence at Highest Level Since 2H09, Finds HSBC Survey

Exporters and importers around the world remain optimistic about trade prospects in the next six months, with the US registering the highest level of trade confidence (111 points) since the country was first surveyed in 2009 by the HSBC Trade Confidence Index (TCI). With the desire to tap growth opportunities abroad and the growth prospects that the emerging markets represent, US small to mid-size businesses are increasingly optimistic about global trade growth.

The latest HSBC TCI found that 62% of US respondents anticipate higher trade volumes in the next six months – an increase from the 56% of US businesses that were optimistic about trade growth in the second half of 2010.

The survey also found that US businesses are growing more optimistic about the global economy, with 59% of businesses expecting growth (up 13% from 2H10). Furthermore, the percentage associated with businesses that feel the global economy will decline over the next six months has fallen from 26% in the second half of 2010 to 19%.

“We are seeing more positive sentiment among US businesses about the prospects global trade offers their businesses,” said William Nowicki, executive vice president (EVP) and head of trade and supply chain North America at HSBC. “US businesses increasingly recognise the opportunities that are driven by intra-regional and emerging market trading as trade continues to be viewed as a catalyst for future global economic advancement.”

Other US findings of the HSBC TCI include:

  • US companies continue to have a strong interest in trade with greater China, which respondents selected as the most promising region for trade growth in the next six months.
  • A trend that is likely to continue is a decline of US trade with Canada, as more businesses focus on trade growth with Latin America. The region came in second as the most promising region for trade growth in the next six months followed by Canada.
  • US small to mid-size businesses continue to conduct the most trade with Canada followed by Latin America and greater China. However, southeast Asia has experienced a steady decline in trade with the US, falling a total of 29% over the course of the past two years.
  • The majority of nations surveyed in the HSBC Index experienced an increase in trade activity, as well as an increased rating for their level of promise for trade growth in the next six months in comparison to 2H10.

“Trade with emerging markets has not only provided individual countries with a greater source of capital and a growing entrepreneurial prowess, but along with intra-regional trade, it has advanced the overall state of global trade,” said Nowicki. “Companies with roots extending around the world have hands-on experience and insight to help businesses better understand the trade growth opportunities on a global scale. When it comes to navigating the field, US businesses must look for partners who have the experience to help them in all regions in which they conduct or plan to conduct trade.”


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