Belfast Telegraph

Uk growth to be led by services and manufacturing: report

By Ben Woods

The UK's manufacturing and services firms have laid the foundations for modest economic growth in 2017 despite enduring cost pressure from the Brexit-hit pound, a report said.

The amount of manufacturing firms seeing a rise in domestic sales expanded to plus 15% from plus 13% in the fourth quarter, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) said.

The services sector also saw a jump, rising to plus 15% from plus 9% over the period.

However, the business body's quarterly economic survey said firms were facing mounting pressure to hike prices - with both sectors experiencing higher import costs caused by sterling's slump since the Brexit vote.

The balance of manufacturing firms expecting the price of goods and services to rise over the next three months hit its highest level on record, rising from plus 31% to plus 52%.

The services sector also soared to levels not seen since the first quarter of 2011, stepping up from plus 20% to plus 30%.

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said: "Both manufacturing and services firms say they are under pressure, particularly from the rising cost of inputs, which is squeezing margins and may weaken future investment." He said growth would continue at a more modest pace in 2017.

Sterling remains around 18% down against the US dollar and 11% lower versus the euro since the EU referendum result.

Belfast Telegraph

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