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U.S. businesses are growing more confident in their global trade outlook since the last half of 2009, pointing toward an expected increase in trade activity over the next six months. The latest HSBC Trade Confidence Index reveals that nearly three in five U.S. respondents (58 percent) anticipate higher trade volumes, a 17-percent increase compared with six months ago.
The HSBC Trade Confidence Index , which surveyed more than 5,000 small and mid-market businesses (SMEs and MMEs) in 17 global markets, showed an overall positive outlook with an average global reading of 116 on a scale of 0 to 200, with 100 as a neutral reading. This is up six points from the global reading in the last half of 2009 (110). Sentiment continues to be the highest among the emerging markets, especially United Arab Emirates (134), India (133), Vietnam (132) and Brazil (129), which illustrate heightened confidence in their local economies' trade activity and growth. In the developed countries, U.S. businesses' confidence rose three points to 110 from 107 in the last half of 2009. All markets surveyed point toward a positive outlook except for France, which scored 95.
U.S. businesses identify emerging markets as the most promising regions for growth. Based on responses, Latin America established itself as a popular region for trade among companies in the U.S. The U.S. businesses looking at Latin America for growth nearly doubled from 14 percent to 27 percent in the last six months, surpassing Greater China (23 percent).
U.S. businesses overall are confident about their access to trade finance, with nearly 70 percent anticipating that access will remain at the same level and nearly one-quarter (23 percent) feeling that trade finance will increase over the next six months. The outlook remains stable on buyer default and supplier non-delivery risks, consistent with previous sentiment.
Of particular interest, U.S. companies plan to demonstrate increased control over their buyer relationships by tightening their payment terms and duration, limiting the loan or credit amount or closely monitoring debt and accounting items.
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