UK firms' sales and optimism soar in third quarter - BCC
By Joshua Franklin LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - British firms recorded the best growth in domestic trade for at least six years in the third quarter and confidence is also rising sharply, a survey showed on Tuesday. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the results of its quarterly economic survey - Britain's largest major business poll - suggested that national output growth sped up to around 0.9-1 percent in the July-September period. Service firms' domestic sales and orders rose at the fastest pace since 2007, while the increases for factories were the sharpest since at least the early 1990s. Expectations that profitability will improve in the next 12 months are now stronger than at any point since 2007 among service providers and since 1994 among manufacturers. "It's clear that the UK upturn is gathering momentum, with most key balances in this quarter higher than their pre-recession levels in 2007," said David Kern, chief economist at the BCC. As a result, the BCC was likely to revise up its forecasts for Britain's gross domestic product in 2013 nad 2014, he added. In August, the group predicted economic growth of 1.3 percent this year and 2.2 percent next year. Prospects for employment, which will affect the timing of the first rise in Britain's interest rates, also brightened. A balance of 26 percent of service firm planned to increase headcount in the next three months - the highest reading since 2007. The same measure came in at 29 percent for manufacturers, which is the highest since the survey began in 1989. The Bank of England has announced that it will not consider raising borrowing costs from their record-low level until unemployment falls to 7 percent. The official jobless rate now stands at 7.7 percent. The BCC said expansion in British business would continue but probably at a slower pace, noting risks from a government shutdown in the United States, its possible debt default and an expected reduction in monetary stimulus for the U.S. economy. Moreover, the British government's deficit-cutting drive and Britons' falling living standards "will inevitably act as a constraint on growth in the next few years", the BCC added. For a table of key findings, click
- Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media
- North Korea says Kim's powerful uncle dismissed for 'criminal acts'
- Thai PM calls snap election, protesters want power now |
- Record cold, ice grip U.S.; snow heads East
- Protesters fell Lenin statue, tell Ukraine's president 'you're next'