Home Manufacturing & Industry Uncertainty over ‘third wave’ denting international growth hopes

Uncertainty over ‘third wave’ denting international growth hopes

As the vaccine rollout continues across the globe, and fears of a third wave in the UK increase, new research from leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP* finds that political uncertainty and a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic are among the biggest concerns for Yorkshire mid-market businesses looking to grow internationally.

With changing restrictions and continued uncertainty for many, two thirds (66%) of 611 mid-market business leaders surveyed across the country believe that it is harder to grow their business internationally today than it was pre-pandemic.

The biggest challenges to international growth for the Yorkshire companies included in Grant Thornton’s survey are:
o Political regime change (48%)
o Mobility of talent (44%)
o Third wave of Covid-19 (42%)
o Lack of global economic growth (36%)

Andy Wood, Yorkshire Managing Partner at Grant Thornton said: “The risk of a third wave of the virus in the UK adds another layer of complexity to all of the uncertainty that businesses are already dealing with. Some sectors, such as travel, tourism and hospitality, are obviously harder hit by the extension of restrictions, but ongoing changes to guidance and deadlines affect all businesses.

“Whilst the UK’s success in vaccinating its own population adds a level of confidence on the domestic front, this needs to be mirrored internationally in order to be able to move forward collectively together. Yorkshire businesses trading internationally are clearly finding the current operating environment difficult and will likely have been reassured by the G7 leaders’ pledge to ‘vaccinate the world’.

“Though a third and disruptive wave of the virus is the primary concern for mid-market leaders in this moment, businesses are also dealing with the ups and downs of UK economic forecasts, ongoing complexity in their supply chains, and trying to embed some of the positive changes to the ways of working that have been accelerated by remote working.

“Our Business Outlook Tracker data, collected in bi-monthly surveys of mid-market leaders, shows that the mid-market is feeling slightly less optimistic about the outlook for the UK economy than they were at the beginning of this year (-4pp from January to June), although it also reveals that their expectations for profit levels have increased significantly (+18pp from January to June). This tells us that leaders are confident in their own business’s ability to weather the changes, and accept constant, unpredictable change as a given.”

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