Nearly two thirds of SMEs expect their export turnover to increase this year, according to the latest AIB Export Outlook survey.

Around 30% plan to export their products and services to new markets during the year, according to the report, with 40% of firms likely to take on new staff to cater to the increased demand.

The report is based on a survey by of 200 exporting SMEs, undertaken by AIB and IPSOS/MRBI.

It found an upbeat mood amongst companies to the export market, which accounted for almost 40% of their turnover in 2013.

More than a quarter of respondents said the United States was a top destination for exports, 16% said Germany and 13% said France.

More than two thirds of survey respondents cited Britain as a key export market in 2013, while 27% said the same of the United States.

The US is also the most targeted new market for exporters, according to the survey, followed by Germany, France and Spain.

To coincide with the report's publication, AIB has also announced the roll out of 85 'Export Finance Champions' around the country, as well as the establishment of a €200m fund to support exporting firms.