Investment in export activity by UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has almost doubled over the past year, according to Bibby Financial Services.

The ‘SME confidence tracker’ reported that one in five manufacturers invested in exporting over the past three months, for the highest number of SMEs investing in overseas trade since 2014.

Bibby found that export activity in Q3 of this year increased on the same point in 2015, with 15% of SMEs investing in exports. For manufacturers, the figure was 22%, up from 15% for Q3 2015.

David Postings, global chief executive for Bibby Financial Services, said: “It’s clear that SMEs want to get back to business after an unsettled first half of the year, and it’s encouraging to see more SMEs looking overseas to unlock growth.”

Bibby reported that the result of the UK’s referendum on EU membership seemed to have not shaken the confidence of some SMEs, with 37% claiming that Brexit had not yet impacted their business.

However, not all SMEs are as optimistic. A further 37% of SMEs believed it was too soon to tell whether Brexit would affect them, and 11% expect declining sales in Q4 2016.

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The continuing devaluation of the pound did not seem to inspire confidence, with Bibby reporting that 51% of UK SMEs see it as a threat to their business.

Postings said: “Many SMEs are concerned about the falling pound…Much rests on the Government’s trade negotiations both within and outside of the UK. There’s more that can be done by both the public and private sector to help SMEs find growth opportunities overseas.”