The latest results of the survey – which is the largest of its kind in the UK and a leading indicator of GDP growth – found protracted weakness across most indicators of economic health in the final quarter of 2019.
- Service sector indicators worsen and remain well below their historic average
- Indicators for manufacturing and export orders are negative for two consecutive quarters for the first time in around a decade
- Manufacturers planning to invest in plant and machinery at eight-year low
The service sector, which accounts for almost 80% of UK economic output, saw all its key indicators worsen compared to Q3 2019. These indicators remain well below their historic average. Fewer service sector firms reported in the quarter.
The balance of manufacturers reporting a rise in domestic and export sales improved slightly. However, the balance of manufacturers reporting increased export and domestic orders has now been negative for two consecutive quarters. This is the first time this has happened since 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Investment intentions remain weak by historic standards – the balance of firms in the manufacturing sector that plan to increase investment in plant and machinery dropped to its lowest level since Q4 2011.
Cashflow – a key indicator of the health of businesses –improved slightly from its lowest level in eight years, but remains very weak across both manufacturing and service sectors.
Source: BCC (https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/)