Strong performance in the manufacturing and services sectors during the first quarter of 2013 will help the UK avoid falling back into recession, a quarterly economic survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found.
The performance of service sector exports was particularly strong, with the deliveries balance up to 33 per cent in the first few months of 2013. The balances of both service export deliveries and orders reached the record levels that had been set in the fourth quarter of 1994.
Both investment and business confidence also recorded modest rises.
Fears of a further recession have been calmed by the results, said the BCC.
Despite the positive outlook, most balances remain below their pre-recession levels in 2007. The survey of more than 7,000 firms indicates that employment fell slightly in the first quarter of 2013.
Chief economist for the BCC, David Kern, said the survey reinforced its belief that recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had ‘exaggerated the weakness and volatility in in UK output.’
“Our survey results show areas of growing strength in the UK economy that militate against unnecessary pessimism, even though the UK’ growth rate is still falling short of its potential,” he said.
“British businesses remain resilient, and are willing and able to drive recovery.”
The strength of exports has led the BCC to say there is huge untapped potential for businesses looking forward. Last month, a committee of MPs and the Confederation of British Industry both said that the Government must do more to make businesses with the desire to export aware of the support available to them through UK Trade & Investment and UK Export Finance.