Belfast Telegraph

Bright outlook for UK firms despite problems in China

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

UK growth picked up pace in the three months to August, but the economy faces risks from the knock-on effect of turbulence in China, the CBI said.

A survey of 754 firms showed the rate of expansion is on the increase for the second month running with expectations for the next three months also buoyant.

It said the gap between firms reporting output volumes higher and those saying they were lower stood at a positive balance of 31%, up from 20% in the three months to July and the best rate since May.

The balance of firms expecting growth in the next three months was unchanged from July at 27%.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said: "The pace of growth has been energised across the sectors."

Business and professional services - including accountancy, law and marketing firms - as well as retail made particularly large contributions though growth in manufacturing remained broadly flat, the CBI said.

"While the overall domestic picture is looking bright, exporters still face a challenge, especially in light of a weaker outlook for global growth and the strength of sterling making them less competitive," said Ms Newton-Smith.

She also pointed to risks from China, where fears of a slowdown in the pace of rapid economic growth has set off convulsions in global markets.

"Businesses will need to keep a close eye on turbulence in the markets, and whether it spills over into the real economy.

"The UK's direct exposure to China is limited, but slower growth there and in other emerging markets has a knock-on impact on confidence around the globe, and could bear down on UK trade."

The CBI said: "The latest data are consistent with our view that the outlook for the domestic economy remains solid in the second half of the year."

Last week the CBI upgraded its growth forecast for the UK from 2.4% to 2.6% this year and from 2.5% to 2.8% in 2016.

Belfast Telegraph

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