Positive results from the British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), which it released on Tuesday, suggest that GDP growth in Q4 2013 could be 0.9%.
According to the BCC, its QES is said to be the first major economic indicator of the year. The survey is made up of responses from nearly 8,000 businesses and is closely watched by the Bank of England and the Treasury. This latest QES reveals that the UK economy is continuing to grow and strengthen, with Q4 key balances in most areas of the manufacturing and service sectors reported as the highest since 2007.
According to the BCC, key findings in the Q4 2013 Quarterly Economic Survey show that five key manufacturing balances are at all-time highs, with domestic orders at +35%, employment at +33%, employment expectations at +31%, turnover confidence at +67% and profitability confidence at +51%.
Survey figures for export balances in the services sector show record highs, with export sales at+36% and export orders at +33%. The services sector employment balance also rose nine points to +29%, an all-time high for the survey.
There are reportedly still some concerns regarding key balances for domestic sales and export orders in manufacturing, which slightly declined, however these figures were still high by historical standards. Also, manufacturing cashflow dropped back from Q3, which indicates that access to finance need to be promoted to help businesses expand and meet growing order books. In addition, inflation is said to be a major concern for many companies.
John Longworth, director general of the BCC, commented:
“It is a fantastic to start the New Year with a very positive quarterly survey. Confidence is high and our members are resolute in their determination to take the recovery from being good to being truly great. Firms across the board believe they can create jobs, invest, and export. It is especially pleasing that the spurt in the manufacturing has proven not to be a fluke, which demonstrates the dynamism of our small, high value, manufacturing sector. But businesses have major ambitions, and to be able to meet them, more support must be provided.
“Cashflow continues to be an ongoing concern, and may hold businesses back from expanding to meet the growing levels of demand. We must give companies the opportunity to get the finance they need to go out and trade the world if we are to succeed in rebalancing the economy.”