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Exporters interested in Latin America: survey

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Australian exporters are moving their interests to the emerging economies of Latin America, Asia and Africa, according to the 2010 DHL Export Barometer. "While only 19 percent of businesses exported to Central and South America in the past 12 months, almost two-thirds of those surveyed expect to increase their orders to the region in the next year," noted Gary Edstein, senior vice president for Oceania at DHL Express. He said the results show Australian exporters’ resilience and nimbleness in targeting emerging economies early to boost flagging profits. Tim Harcourt, chief economist for Austrade adds that Brazil has joined Asia as a key engine of growth in the global economy, attracting the focus of Australian exporters and investors. "Brazil has strong macroeconomic management under the administration of President Lula and approximately 20 million additional middle class Brazilians are expanding their purchasing power at home and abroad, making it an attractive destination for Australian exporters," he said. The annual survey found that exporters are optimistic for the future with 53 percent forecasting an increase in orders in thenext three months and 69 percent in the next 12 months, equaling the highest recorded confidence in the survey’s eight-year history. The last 12 months left exporters with lower than expected sales; only 38 percent of the 60 percent surveyed recorded an actual rise. "In 2009, world trade contracted by the largest amount in 70 years and Australia was the only industrialised country to achieve positive export volumes; a remarkable achievement by Australian exporters," said Harcourt. These results show that exporters are looking beyond the recent global economic downturn and are just getting on with business. The exchange rate is now their biggest concern, although "exporters are learning to compete overseas even with a high dollar," he said. Exporters are still cautious, acknowledging that selling overseas still has its challenges. "As more Australian companies look to expand their business into emerging markets, programs that provide financial and on the ground support for exporters are critical," said Edstein.

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