U.K. Business Outlook at Its Highest Since Mid-2015

The United Kingdom is gaining business confidence after seeing a four-year low in October. Data collected in February shows a confidence level of 52% compared to 39% last fall, according to the most recent Markit UK Business Outlook. The less than favorable outlook was partially due to last summer’s referendum that ended with the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.

The outlook survey for manufacturing and services is based on responses from about 12,000 providers. Business sentiment is at its highest since June 2015. U.K. manufacturers were 55% confident, which is second to Brazil among the 12 countries rated by IHS Markit. The positive outlook can be traced to improving client demands among other factors.

Private sector firms are more positive about growth prospects for the next year, according to IHS Markit Senior Economist Tim Moore. U.K. private sector companies also saw an 8% increase in employment expectations, which is at its highest since fall 2015. U.K. companies are expected to raise prices at the fastest rate since late 2009, said Moore. Private sector firms expected to increase output prices is at 42%. Firms expected to increase input prices during the next 12 months is at 54%, which is its highest since early 2011.

-Michael Miller, editorial associate

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