QES

Quarterly Economic Survey
Executive Summary - Q1 2020

DOMESTIC SALES AND ORDERS – Service sector sales net balance rose 2 points in the last quarter to +35%, driven largely by B2B sales. Consumer services businesses other than food retail reported declining UK sales, most notably within accommodation services. Manufacturing domestic sales fell to 0% down 14 points on Q4 2019, its lowest level since Q3 2019 (largely Brexit related) and Q3 2012 (in the midst of the Eurozone crisis and fears of a second technical recession in four years)

EXPORT SALES AND ORDERS – Export sales rose across services and manufacturing up 7 and 5 points respectively.

EMPLOYMENT – Remains strong at the time fieldwork was conducted, however at the time of writing the outlook looks unclears

INVESTMENT – As the Brexit deadlock was broken in January, companies reported investment, claiming it could no longer be held back. Drilling down the most widely reported investment was in information technology hardware and software.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE – There was some divergence in confidence, with the service sector (B2B) expecting to see increases in turnover and profitability. Manufacturers, we suggest were the first to feel the impact of coronavirus, as it impacted supply chains from the end of 2019. Add into this ongoing international trade tensions and a dramatic drop in UK sales it would go a long way to explaining the overall reduction in business
confidence.

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