"Exporters are still muddling through the waters of an uncertain world economy with Brexit, populist election candidates, low growth and fears of further financial stress. However, America’s back, free trade agreements are helping (particularly with China) and emerging Asian markets are on Australian exporter’s horizons.
The 2016 DHL Export Barometer has recorded no increase in exporter confidence for the first time since 2011. According to this year’s DHL Export Barometer, 65% of exporters expect an improvement in export sales over the next 12 months, just down on 66% a year ago.
The weakened Aussie dollar has helped on the revenue side but it has jacked up raw material costs as three out of four Australian exporters now simultaneously import in this modern era of globalisation.
And it’s not just China where export forecasts are strong. The 2016 research shows North America has moved up the charts along with the Middle East, Europe, ASEAN – and even Japan and India are seen as favourable regarding future export prospects.
Despite political controversy, particularly in the USA, exporters regard free trade agreements (FTAs) to be useful and increasingly so. Exporters rate highly the FTAs with China, the USA, NZ, Singapore and ASEAN. Looking forward, strong numbers would like to see similar agreements with the EU, India, Indonesia and the Gulf Co-operation Council.
The FTAs in North East Asia – with Japan in particular – are enticing new exporters and new products and services as well as boosting existing export sales.
In short, it’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian exporter!"
JW Nevile Fellow in Economics
UNSW & The Airport Economist