The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)’s new Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) shows encouraging results for Q1 2012, with most balances recording increases on the last quarter. The new survey, comprising almost 8,000 responses from businesses across the UK, shows a welcome improvement on the results of Q4 2011 which pointed towards ‘stagflation’.
While the results are more encouraging than the previous quarter, they show that growth is still too weak, with the balances still below those seen in 2007 before the recession. Many manufacturing balances are now at a satisfactory level, but service sector balances are sluggish.
Balances measuring domestic and export activity across firms showed welcome increases, and more businesses are looking to invest in employing more staff, training, and plant and machinery. However, cash flow is still a real problem and, despite concerns about inflation decreasing, recent increases in oil and food prices may alter this over the next few months.