Businesses have named access to trade finance as the second most problematic factor for exporting, a survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF) reveals.

Exporters cited the difficulty of identifying potential markets and buyers as the biggest barrier to trade. Other factors include burdensome custom procedures, transportation costs and delays, and corruption.

The survey’s result prompted WEF to include an indicator assessing accessibility to trade finance factor in its ‘Enabling Trade Index 2012’, which puts Singapore in first place, followed by Hong Kong and Denmark.

The report hails Hong Kong’s “very conducive” environment for business, in particular the efficiency of its financial sector and access to trade finance, which WEF rates as “second to none”.

Although it is ranked 5th in the overall index, New Zealand is advised to improve the efficiency of its financial markets and to make trade finance more widely available in order to further boost its international trade.

Luxembourg’s ease of access to trade finance is also complimented, although other factors, such as an uneven performance in border clearance procedures, keep the principality at the 10th place of the index.

Despite being ranked 100th, India is commended for its trade-related regulatory environment, in particular its “very efficient” financial system and the availability of trade finance.

The report also cites access to export finance as a way to make Mexican exports more competitive.

Overall, WEF’s index sees the recovery of global trade volume, 8.2% higher than its 2008 peak. The Forum points out that emerging countries’ share of world trade has grown from one-third in 2008 to over 50% in 2011.

“This rise reinforced a trend already evident prior to the crisis, and that trend is expected to become even more important in the future: it is clear that global trade is increasingly concentrated in and among emerging economies,” the report says.