Brexit uncertainty holding back decision making
West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has published its latest round of economic survey findings.
There is just one theme dominating this quarter’s results which is the ongoing and relentless uncertainty caused by Brexit. Manufacturing activity slowed significantly in the last three months as companies report the lowest level of domestic sales activity in seven years. Industrial exports also slowed for the second consecutive quarter. Following the stockpiling we reported in the first quarter of 2019, companies may still not have unwound their positions, meaning that cash is tied up which in turn may hinder their ability to respond to threats and opportunities as we prepare to leave the EU. The service sector also reported slowing sales, driven by a fall in consumer spending.
Speaking about the results, Nick Garthwaite, newly appointed chair of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies are holding off major decision-making ahead of Brexit, the uncertainty is crippling. Manufacturing investment in the last quarter was at its lowest point since the EU referendum as companies await the outcome of negotiations between Brussels and Westminster. We are encouraging all companies, irrespective of whether they trade with Europe or not to review our Brexit checklist and make sure they are prepared. This is available at wnychamber.co.uk/Europe”
Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, added: “The strong employment figures are a positive sign for the region despite the ongoing uncertainty with the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. It is apparent from the report that more communication is needed to help businesses prepare for Brexit. We are committed to providing businesses in the region with support and resources to prepare for Brexit. Businesses can contact the LEP Growth Service as an impartial source of advice on the support available.”
About the quarterly economic survey
Now in its thirtieth year, this is the largest and longest running regional business survey.
Q3 survey results
Net balance figures referred to throughout the report are determined by subtracting the percentage of companies reporting decreases in a factor from the percentage of companies reporting increases.
- Domestic sales 1% down 15%
- Export sales 7% down 13%
- Capital investment 12% down 7%
- Training investment 13% down 9%
- Business confidence 23% down 12%
- Domestic sales 21% down 5%
- Export sales 17% up 20%
- Capital investment 20% up 1%
- Training investment 16% down 8%
- Business confidence 34% down 3%