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The latest DHL Export Barometer has found exporters are gaining confidence whilst learning to manage the strong Australian dollar, international competition and rising raw material costs.

Exporters are also diversifying their export markets beyond China into the rest of Asia and the Middle East. As Tim Harcourt, J.W. Neville Fellow in Economics at UNSW commented, in 2014 the Middle East has ellipsed China as the most promising market.

“Whilst media reports imply we are putting all the export eggs in the China basket, the Barometer clearly shows an overall diversity in our export destinations,” Mr Harcourt said.

“Indeed, many Australian companies use Dubai increasingly as a hub for their Middle East operations and with all this commercial interest, there is naturally a large number of Australian expatriates living in the region.

“We already have 250 Australian registered businesses in the UAE and around 16,000 Australian expatriates. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has a population of just under 400 million, and is a $7.1 billion market for Australia’s merchandise exports, advanced services, research collaboration and technology,” he added.

What’s more, the shift away from over-dependence on the mining sector has seen stronger results from the services and agriculture industries over the last twelve months.

“There are now clear signs the exporter community represents a more diverse group of industry sectors. Some might say we’ve gone from the mining boom to the dining boom with the services exporters most confident they will increase their export orders in the next 12 months,” Mr Harcourt added.

Gary Edstein, Senior Vice President, DHL Express Oceania, said it is encouraging to see growth in exporter confidence.

“[Some] 61 per cent of exporters surveyed expect orders to increase in the coming year, up on last year’s 58 per cent. Exporters are also more confident about company profitability, with 50 per cent expecting an increase in shipments,” Mr Edstein said.

The Barometer found that services exporters (70%) are the most confident they will increase their export orders over the next 12 months, followed by agricultural exporters (64%) then manufacturers (60%) and miners (39%).