Business Information: Latest Reports and Business Shorts
The UK is set to miss the government’s target of hitting £1 trillion worth of exports by 2020 by 14 years. The British Chambers of Commerce's annual International Trade Survey has revealed that the UK is set to miss the government’s target of hitting £1 trillion worth of exports by 2020 and predicts that if the UK continues at current growth rates it is not likely to reach this target until 2034. The BCC's survey also identifies ten export 'hot spots' for services - the countries UK services firms are most interested in exporting to over the next five years. The list is led by traditional favourites, the US (32%), Germany (30%) and France (29%), but China (24%) and the United Arab Emirates (24%) are now close behind. To read the BCC's news release with a link to the full report go to

Lloyds Bank report suggests that the UK's economic recovery is maturing. Lloyds Bank's latest issue of its Business in Britain survey has reported robust levels of economic activity in the past six months and predicts that this will continue in the second half of the year. Business confidence also remains near the post-recession high – a finding which is broadly replicated across industries, regions and firms of different sizes. Taken together, the survey advises that these results suggest that the economic upturn is enduring and maturing. In addition, a notable change compared with the last survey is the improvement in expected exports, particularly to Europe. To download Lloyds Bank's report go to

21st century start-ups significantly change the shape of the UK economy. Experian has advised that ‘Generation Z’ companies formed in the 21st century have played a significant role in driving the incorporated business population from 1.5 million in 2000 to 3.4 million by the end of 2014. Overall, the business population has experienced two decades of almost uninterrupted growth, falling only in 2009 and 2010. A record 586,818 companies were set up in 2014, 27.5% more than the 459,967 created in 2007 when the economy was at its peak. East London was the home of 3.4% of UK start-ups created in 2013, the most in the UK, while London as a whole accounts for six of the top eight postcodes for business incorporations. To read Experian's news release go to

Global economic tremors hit UK business confidence. According to the latest Business Trends Report by BDO, UK business confidence fell to its lowest level – 103.9 – since November 2014. This reflects UK firms’ concerns that the continued Greek chaos and a potential slowdown in China’s economy, sparked by a plunging stock market, could soon affect their own prospects. Falling confidence is driven in particular by pressures in the manufacturing sector, with BDO’s Manufacturing Optimism Index plummeting to 98.5 (from 103.4) this month. It is now below the long-term trend rate for the first time in two years. To read BDO's news release with a link to the full report go to

UK SMEs spend £10.8 billion a year chasing late payment. According to new figures from Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), UK SMEs are facing higher costs than ever in chasing late payment debt. Research into the UKs late payment burden shows that SMEs are racking up a collective £10.8 billion a year in their attempts to recover overdue payments – that’s an average of almost £11,500 each, or £955 a month. That compares with a total cost of £8.2 billion in July 2014. However, the good news is that the overall late payment debt appears to have peaked, and is now on its way down – Bacs’ research shows that the total amount owed to both large and small UK businesses now stands at £31.3 billion, down from £41.5 billion this time last year. The SME share of that totals £26.8 billion, down from £32.4 billion in July of last year. To read Bacs' news release go to

Late payment causing businesses cashflow problems – and expected to get worse.According to the latest in the Business in Britain series of reports from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, the problem of late or slow payments continues to cause cashflow difficulties for businesses, and almost a third expect it will only get worse in the next six months. While overall business confidence remains strong (at 43%) and may lead many businesses to consider investing in growth, those plans may be hampered by the fact that almost one in five (18%) businesses admit to experiencing cashflow problems. Late payment is cited by nearly three in five (59%) of those businesses as being a major cause. To read Lloyds Banks' news release go to

UK growth steady but exports drag. According to the latest CBI SME Trends Survey, growth among UK SME manufacturers remained positive in the three months to July, but new export orders fell - having been broadly flat for the previous two quarters. Export prices also continued their downward trend, falling at the fastest pace since October 2003, and are widely expected to limit export orders in the next quarter. Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Analysis, said: “ . . the relative strength of the Pound against the Euro is hitting export orders and margins, while uncertainty regarding Greece threatens growth prospects in the Eurozone.” To read the CBI's news release go to

Number of UK food suppliers experiencing ‘Significant’ financial distress increases 54% in 12 months. Begbies Traynor's latest Red Flag Alert Report for Q2 2015 has shown that UK food retailers have continued to experience rising ‘Significant’ financial distress, increasing by 38% to 5,258 businesses (97% of which are SMEs) over the past year. Overall, the UK’s food supply chain was by far the biggest loser; during Q2 2015, the UK Food and Beverage Manufacturers witnessed the highest year on year increase in ‘Significant’ distress of all sectors monitored, rising 54% to 1,622 companies. Julie Palmer, Partner and retail expert at Begbies Traynor, said: “The supermarkets have managed to successfully rebase their own models by reducing product ranges, moving away from bulk-buy offers and squeezing supplier margins still further, while failing to clean up their act on late payments." To view Begbies Traynor's news release go to

Manufacturing around the UK. EEF has launched a new publication, Regional Manufacturing Outlook, which examines the composition and performance of manufacturing across the different regions in the UK. The report compares key metrics from EEF's Business Trends Survey on business confidence, output, employment and investment patterns and combines these with official data on the sectoral make up of industry across the UK. For more information and to view the Outlook go to

About this issue's sponsor: XS Reserve
XS Reserve’s idea is very simple; to support a company’s cash flow and improve its access to financing. Greater certainty is achieved by enabling them to build cash reserves through regular, monthly instalments into their own designated bank account over a term of up to three years, but, importantly with the full term value available on day one. We achieve this by arranging insurance cover up to the value of the proposed reserve. This insurance will respond to a claim on the reserve from day one, even though the insured’s bank account balance may be less than the claim. By cash funding a significant part of the risk exposure, this skin-in-the-game approach can help companies reduce their insurance spend and hence their operating costs whilst also helping treasurers reduce their WACC. As the reserve isn’t a sunk cost unless and until there is a claim, the process improves cash flow management and forecasting. This has considerable benefits for many companies in uncertain and volatile economic times.
This brand new product better supports Treasury needs for consistent and predictable cash allocation, whilst the reserve, and any Excess of Loss cover sitting above it, can respond to an unexpected event. The cover protects against credit defaults on the sales ledger and overcomes the difficulty of negotiating standby lines of liquidity from banks who are already under severe pressure with capital constraints imposed by Basel regulation. It can also help companies – both financial and non-financial – release precious cash collateral they may be required to post, restricting cash flow.
The full value of the reserve can be assigned to a third party, such as a trade financier, and provide a valuable form of cash collateral. XS Reserve can therefore be seen as an economic alternative to a Standby Letter of Credit at a time when banks are increasingly reluctant to provide such LoCs.
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