Efic, Australia’s export credit agency, has released its bi-annual Exporter Sentiment Index, showing that Australian exporting SMEs are confident about the next 12 months.

“This research provides SME exporter insights into expectations around current and future business conditions, overseas sales growth forecasts, and expectations around access to export finance,” says Andrew Hunter, CEO and Managing Director at Efic. “Overall, we’re seeing positive results. Our respondents expressed confidence about their current and future financial position, the broader economy and general business conditions for 2017.”

The research indicates that just over half Australian exporting SMEs believe they are in a better financial position than 12 months ago, with 57% confident they will be in a better financial position in the next 12 months.

“We found that twice as many SME exporters believe that the economy will be better in the next 12 months than those that do not,” says Hunter. “This confidence is particularly strong in businesses with a turnover of between $10m and $100m.”

Some 56% of SME exporters expect their overseas sales revenue to increase over the year mainly due to increasing demand in existing markets (23%).

“While overall sentiment is pleasingly positive, we’re still seeing access to export finance as a key concern for Australian SME exporters,” says Hunter. “The results show that one in five exporters expect access to export finance to become more difficult, and just over a third expect it to remain the same.

“This is where Efic can add real value to Australian small and medium exporters. Our focus is on providing SMEs with the export finance they need when their bank is unable to help. Often we find that businesses are unable to access finance through traditional avenues, like their banks, and so are unable to take on new export opportunities.

“Efic can work with your bank to provide a suitable financial solution. Whether that’s through a loan, guarantee or bond, we can help experienced exporters or those thinking of entering their first export market.”