Q1 2017 key findings:
- ICAEW's business confidence index in the East of England stands at -17.9, falling to the lowest level since Q2 2009
- 57% of businesses in the region are working below capacity
- Export sales growth is expected to accelerate from 1.7% growth over the last 12 months to 3.4% in the year ahead
- Domestic sales are also anticipated to be stronger, increasing to 4.3% growth compared to 3.8% in the year to date
- Input prices are expected to continue rising at 2.4%, broadly in line with the increases seen up to date.
Phillippa Bourne, ICAEW East of England Director said:
"It is a concern that business confidence in the East of England has dipped again this quarter. Inflation continues to rise and commodity prices are increasing more rapidly than before, so we expect input prices to continue growing. Businesses are likely to pass some of these increases on to their customers which means that 2017 is likely to be a year of counting the pounds and pennies for consumers in the East of England."
"On a more positive note, sales expectations remain robust, possibly due to the post-Brexit world proving better than some worst case scenarios predicted. In order for businesses in the region to start building confidence, Government should focus on negotiating the most inclusive Brexit deal for business of all shapes and sizes across the UK."
For more information: www.icaew.com/bcm