The report, now in its 13th year, provides an analysis of UKEF’s activities and reflects upon the range and quality of its support to UK exporters over the previous year.
Where research and feedback suggest more focus is required, BExA proposes recommendations to UKEF for the year ahead. It also offers comparisons between UKEF and other countries’ ECAs.
The report said, “Despite these complexities, the UK’s 2022 £813 billion exports are at record levels. It seems highly probable that His Majesty’s Government will meet its £1 trillion Export Strategy target by 2030.
Exports must increase by approximately 2.5% pa in the 2023-30 period to achieve this. Thought might be given within Government as to whether the target should be upwardly moved given that only 261,000 UK companies export, meaning that 1/20th of the UK’s company population produces approximately 1/3rd of the value of the UK’s GDP by their exporting.”
The cornerstone of BExA’s benchmarking work is the mark that it allocates for UKEF product availability. Since 2014, BExA has scored UKEF an excellent 9 out of 10 for its product range, with just tender to contract foreign exchange rate cover still missing from the ECA’s portfolio. UKEF retains this score in the new report.
Marcus Dolman, BExA vice-president and report’s co-author, said, “UKEF is rightly proud of its broad product range and the support it provides to UK exporters. Similarly, we are pleased to work with UKEF to ensure that the broad portfolio of products they offer works in the best possible way for our members and the whole UK export community.”
To this end and for the first time in its benchmarking history, BExA now also provides a ‘useability’ metric in its report. This is a subjective view based on BExA member opinions of how each UKEF product is performing and considers ease of access, speed of turnaround and fitness for purpose.
BExA’s report delves into the detail of the issues and offers constructive feedback on where improvements can be made.
The report also highlighted that UKEF lacks foreign exchange cover.
The report said, “A Tender to Contract FX Cover (TTC) product would enable UK exporters to confidently bid for overseas contracts with minimal up-front costs, certainty of their margins, and the ability to manage the risk of bidding in foreign currency.
The benefit of such a product was highlighted during the political and economic upheaval of 2022 when exporters offering fixed price tenders would have been negatively impacted by a >12% move in exchange rates – which in some cases would have eradicated their profit margin.”
Dolman said, “The useability metric is intended to inspire UKEF to build upon its good work in achieving the 9 out of 10 product score and truly deliver a world-class product suite.
We look forward to continuing our journey with UKEF to ensure UK exporters have the support they need to ensure that no viable export fails for lack of finance or insurance.”
Newly-appointed chief executive of UKEF, Tim Reid, said, “We welcome the publication of the British Exporters Association’s annual benchmarking survey and are delighted to have achieved a 9/10 rating for our product suite for the 9th year running.
We understand the challenges facing UK businesses today, with rising costs, supply chain issues, and a turbulent global economic market. We will continue to engage with BExA, industry, and our customers to ensure UKEF’s support and the usability of our products meets the needs of the UK’s exporting community.”