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More businesses looking overseas despite uncertainty

New Zealand businesses with an eye to going global found the volatile dollar and lack of experience to be their main hurdles in 2011.

New Zealand businesses with an eye to going global found the volatile dollar and lack of experience to be their main hurdles in 2011.

Statistics New Zealand's Business Operations Survey 2011, which collects information from businesses with six or more employees, found almost 20 percent of New Zealand businesses gained income from overseas.

"The big concerns for businesses receiving income from overseas were both the exchange rate level and sharp changes in it," business performance manager Hamish Hill said.

The New Zealand dollar reached a record high against the US dollar in August last year after a period of fluctuation.

Trends indicate more New Zealand businesses are producing goods or services overseas – 6 percent in 2011, up from 4 percent in 2007.

“Lower production costs are an important factor for more than half of these businesses, up from one-third in 2007."

Businesses purchasing from overseas said the key reason was their need to access items not produced in New Zealand. Three out of five businesses that sourced goods from overseas did so as there was no local alternative supplier. Cost was also a factor.

What's holding back businesses that want to start generating overseas income, conversely, is lack of experience and limited knowledge.

SNZ is also due to release a report on innovation in New Zealand in June.