The British Chamber of Commerce has published its latest Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3, resulting in a ‘mixed picture’ following the Brexit vote.
According to figures based on over 7,000 responses from firms over the period, the manufacturing sector saw an improved short-term performance set against a further slowdown in growth in the services sector.
The survey – the first covering the period after the EU referendum – shows that manufacturers enjoyed improved domestic and export sales, up by 13% and 17% respectively, compared with the previous quarter, with some benefitting from sterling’s recent fall.
Meanwhile, the balance of service sector firms reporting improved domestic and export sales was at the lowest level seen since 2012, at 9% from 24% in Q2 and 8% from 11% respectively.
The balance of firms reporting an increase in advance orders is up to 12% from 5%, with the fall in sterling making some UK manufacturers more competitive.
Almost half the manufacturers surveyed expressed concerns of the exchange rate, up to 48% from 35% in Q2, whilst fewer firms in both sectors reported confidence in both turnover and profitability will improve over the next year.
Commenting, Dr Adam Marshall, acting director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “While many manufacturers have seen something of a bounce this summer, the UK’s services sector has slowed significantly, and our data suggests that slower growth is likely in the months ahead.
“Firms are concerned over investment, hiring, and profitability. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is a crucial opportunity to incentivise business investment and overseas trade. Final and irrevocable decisions on infrastructure projects, both big and small, would also boost business confidence and support investment all across the UK.”