Belfast Telegraph

Nearly all top firms expecting growth in 2017, report reveals

Nearly 90% of Britain's top bosses are expecting growth this year despite casting a gloomy outlook for the global economy, a report said.

The PwC CEO survey found that 89% of company chief executives are more confident about growth for the next 12 months, but close to a third are predicting the global economy to decline.

Economic uncertainty was chief among their concerns, with 84% pinpointing it as the single biggest threat, while 76% earmarked cyber attacks as a key issue for 2017.

Kevin Ellis, PwC chairman and senior partner, said it was encouraging to see growth on the agenda for UK Plc after an eventful 2016.

"We may face a period of uncertainty, but the economic fundamentals remain positive and businesses should keep calm and carry on doing what they do best - capitalising on the UK's strengths and attractiveness to the rest of the world, and seeking out new opportunities.

"UK CEOs are resilient and realistic about the challenges ahead - maintaining a positive mindset and staying focused on what they can control is vital."

It comes after Bank of England governor Mark Carney said on Wednesday that Brexit no longer represented the single biggest threat to the UK economy.

The survey by professional services firm PwC gathered responses from 126 UK CEOs and 1,300 global leaders.

It found that UK bosses were more optimistic about growth than Germany where 83% of bosses are predicting their firms will expand.

More than half of UK CEOs - 55% - expect to drive through new mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the year ahead, while 63% aim to bolster their workforces over the period.

The UK was "rising in popularity with overseas companies", according to the report, after business leaders from 16 countries said Britain was more important than last year when it came to short term growth.

Britain also emerged as the fourth most important country for growth, behind America, China and Germany.

A separate study by the British Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of January said the UK's manufacturing and services firms had laid the foundations for modest economic growth in 2017.

It added that the number of manufacturers and services sector companies expecting their turnover to increase rose from plus 36% to plus 43% and from plus 28% to plus 35% respectively.

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