The Global Business Monitor report by Bibby Financial Services found that 73% of all SMEs, and 83% of those in the US and 82% in Ireland expressed concern about the state of the global economy.
In Hong Kong, with SMEs 69% more likely to export than those in the UK, only 15% were confident about their local economy, and 37% cited foreign exchange fluctuations as the primary barrier to trade.
Polish SMEs expressed worry over the effect of foreign exchange fluctuations also, with 46% citing them as a barrier to international trade.
Steve Box, international chief executive officer of Bibby Financial Services said: “It’s clear that confidence in the global economy has suffered due to macro-economic and geopolitical events in the last six months. The real question is for how long will confidence be affected?”
There was optimism among SMEs in local economies however, with 73% of German SMEs and 67% of Irish SMEs expressing confidence, and 57% of German and Irish SMEs expecting sales growth over the next year.
Box added: “Germany is often seen as the industrial beating heart of Europe. Our research underlines the confidence of the small businesses in Europe’s largest economy as the EU looks to agree its shaped post-Brexit.”
However, Box stated that the effects of Brexit had not yet become apparent, and could affect the global economy further.
Box said: “It is likely that the UK’s formal exit from the EU – commencing with the triggering of Article 50 by the end of March next year – will have further economic consequences that will be felt around the world.”