The latest ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) shows that while business confidence remains in negative territory there is ground for modest optimism as sales and profit growth show some improvement.
Key findings this quarter
The Confidence Index improves but remains negative, up from -8 in Q3 to -3.4 this quarter.
Overall sales growth remains steady but slow. Export sales growth is still weak though gently improving.
A slowdown in input price inflation and moderation in wage growth are generating modest improvements in profits.
Employment continues to grow, backed by similar modest increases in spending on staff development.
Low levels of business confidence and high levels of spare capacity are holding down significant increases in investment.
Regulatory requirements and the availability of non-management skills are presenting increasing challenges to businesses
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