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UK seen as more valuable for company growth, despite Brexit concerns

Investors view the UK as a more valuable place for growth despite widespread concerns over Britain's future outside the European Union, according to a report.

Analysis by PwC found the UK is now equal third with Germany when it comes to company growth prospects, rising from fourth place in 2016.

The UK is only lagging behind the US and China, with London emerging as the second most important city after New York.

The report, compiled from interviews with more than 550 global investment professionals and around 1,300 chief executives, said investors eyeing technology and financial industries had put the UK among the top three.

Hilary Eastman, head of global investor engagement at PwC, said: "It's striking that the UK is now seen as more important for growth, particularly by investment professionals, moving up from fourth place last year to joint third place with Germany this year.

"But 'importance' may or may not equate to 'positive growth' and therefore optimism. Importance could be interpreted in a positive light - that the countries selected would be those expected to grow most or fastest.

"On that basis, the Brexit vote and all the uncertainty surrounding the UK's future relationship with the EU appear not to be deterring investors.

"However, some investment professionals we spoke to saw that 'importance' could also be interpreted in a negative sense, that problems and greater volatility in the UK, for example, could have an important effect on slowing down companies' growth."

On global economic growth, 45% of investors and analysts said they were very confident about growth prospects, up from 22% last year.

However, investors pinpointed geopolitical uncertainty as the key threat to company growth, with the future of the eurozone and protectionist policies also high on the agenda.

Mr Eastman added: "Investment professionals around the world are upbeat about global economic growth prospects, despite recognising the shifting political landscape in which companies operate.

"They certainly don't expect the globalisation process to stop or be reversed.

"But, like CEOs, investors do think it is becoming harder for business leaders to balance competing in an open global marketplace with trends toward closed national policies."

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