CONFIDENCE among Australian exporters is at an all-time high, according to research contained in the 15th DHL Export Barometer 2018.

According to the report, e-commerce is dominating the agenda, with 61% of exporters reporting favourable growth in actual orders during the past 12 months, while 75% also expect to record an increase in international sales during the next 12 months, a rise of 8% from last year’s result.

DHL Express Oceania senior vice president and chief executive Gary Edstein said this year’s positive sentiment was a significant sign “that the Australian export market is close to peak performance”.

“Australian exporters have demonstrated a real tenacity that sees them pursuing further expansion in the face of global political and economic developments,” Mr Edstein said.

“Undoubtedly, e-commerce has been a positive force for this continual growth, contributing significantly to the confidence of Australian exporters and equipping them with the platforms necessary to go global.”

According to the report, New Zealand is the top export destination at 66% (up from 61% in 2017) while Asia Pacific markets hold promise.

Australian exporters are continuing to find strength in historical trade partners, with New Zealand remaining the most popular export market at 66% (up from 61% in 2017).

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Tim Harcourt, JW Nevile Fellow in Economics and host of The Airport Economist said New Zealand was an attractive export market for Australian business.

“Among exporters who have been exporting for more than 20 years, 80% of them continue to show confidence in trade with New Zealand – a testament to the enduring strength of the Trans-Tasman relationship,” Mr Harcourt said.

 North America came in at second place at 54% with growth of 6% on 2017, followed by Europe (42%), and the UK (41%).

Australian exporters were said to have remained optimistic amid global political developments.

Exporters were also said to be positive about the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (34%), China’s Belt and Road initiative (27%) and emerging export technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain (31%).

“What history has taught us is that political and economic events do come in peaks and troughs, and this may explain the record high level of confidence among Australian exporters despite these ongoing developments,” Mr Harcourt said.

“They recognise that trade will inevitably continue, and there will be new growth opportunities to explore further.  Australian exporters have developed exceptional skills in assessing their competitive position in the international market, adapting to regulatory changes and implementing innovative strategies to take on new challenges.”

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