Manufacturing-led economy shows signs of continued, steady growth

Posted on 3 Dec 2014 by Callum Bentley

The UK economy is continuing on a healthy trajectory with the rate of growth stable in the three months to November, according to the CBI’s latest Growth Indicator, out today.

Expectations for growth are not as strong as earlier in the year but are well above their long-run average.

The survey of 742 businesses brings together economic-activity survey data from a range of business sectors. It shows slightly stronger growth in manufacturing, with output up in 15 of the 18 sub-sectors, and growth in consumer & business professional services. That offsets slowing growth in retailing. The resulting overall balance of +20% is little changed from October’s survey balance of +19%.

Businesses’ expectations are proving resilient. The balance of +26% for the next three months is virtually unchanged from +25% in October and +27% in September. But this represents a scaling back of expectations compared with earlier in the year. For example, the balance was +42% in April (the year’s highest) and +38% in August.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said: “This shows a continuing story of solid growth.

“Previously pent-up demand delivered a strong boost to growth during the first half of the year but this effect may be fading. The UK is continuing to expand on a healthy trajectory, returning now to steadier and more sustainable growth rates.

“Domestic political uncertainty is an issue for businesses but the global backdrop is a greater concern. The Eurozone is weak, with a real risk of deflation, growth in emerging markets has slowed and geo-political tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine are the biggest threats to confidence.”