Economy remains stagnant

Economy remains stagnant: BCC Quarterly Economic Survey

  • Q3 results slightly worse than the previous quarter – UK economic performance remains weak and inadequate
  • Business confidence and investment falls
  • Recovery in exports has weakened
  • Domestic orders are weak and far below pre-recession levels
  • Firms less confident in taking on staff
  • Companies reported cashflow problems

A slight rise in retail sales volumes

Sales on the high street grow marginally: CBI Distributive Trades Survey

  • 33% of retailers reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, and 27% stated that sales had fallen – an improvement on last month’s weaker performance
  • Looking ahead, retailers expect somewhat faster sales growth in the year to October
  • While the volume of orders placed on suppliers was broadly flat (+2%), this was still a marked improvement from last month’s year-on-year fall (-11%) and beat expectations of another decline (-8%)
  • For the fifth consecutive month, high street retailers considered the volume of sales to be significantly below average for the time of year

Boost to output prospects

Moderate boost to output prospects as order books improve: CBI Industrial Trends Survey

  • Of the 425 manufacturers responding to the latest monthly Industrial Trends Survey, 28% expect to increase their volume of output over the course of the next three months, while 21% expect it to fall. The resulting balance of +7% is in line with the long-run average (+6%) and follows the expectation last month of a flat period for output (0%).
  • Total order books saw an improvement from August (balance of -21%), with 19% of firms reporting them as above normal and 28% stating that order levels were below normal this month. The rounded balance of -8% is also well above the long-run average (-17%) and back in line with July’s results (-6%). Likewise, export orders also recovered with a balance of -10%, comfortably above the long-run average of -21%.
  • Stock levels rose to their highest level since October 2011 (+21%), with a balance of +18% stating that stocks are at least adequate to meet demand, a little above the long-run average (+14%).