UK business upbeat but less so than before Brexit

British businesses turned more optimistic in November about the country’s economy although they are still not as confident as they were before June’s Brexit vote, a survey showed yesterday.

Business confidence hit its second-highest level since Britain voted to leave the EU, polling firm YouGov and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), a think-tank, said.

The survey of 500 executives showed a “notable increase” in capital investment planned for the coming year. 

Business confidence slumped in July in the weeks after the vote. 

It also dipped in October when Prime Minister Theresa May said she would begin Brexit negotiations by the end of March and suggested she would take a tough approach in the talks. 

Since then, however, the UK government has sent some signals that it wants to avoid an abrupt break with the EU.

“To date, businesses are proving quite resilient in the face of what has proved to be an economically and politically tumultuous six months for the UK,” Scott Corfe, CEBR director, said.

“Although many forecasters believe growth will slow next year, organisations themselves have a relatively bright outlook and are prepared to invest over the coming 12 months,” he said.

The survey’s measure of business confidence increased to 111.1 in November from 109.1 in October but remained below June’s level of 112.6. British manufacturers have also reported their strongest order books in nearly two years.

However, they also plan to push up their prices sharply in early 2017 after this year’s Brexit hit to sterling, a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) survey showed yesterday.

Reuters

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