Business confidence steady on eve of EU referendum

Jake Cordell
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Business confidence was holding up right until the referendum
Business confidence was holding up right until the referendum (Source: Getty)

On the eve of the referendum UK businesses were feeling optimistic about the future and were ramping up production, a new survey from the CBI has shown.

In a survey of businesses conducted in the weeks before the 23 June vote, manufacturers, retailers and services firms reported little sign that pre-referendum nerves were holding them back, though whether such confidence will remain now the UK has voted to leave the EU remains to be seen.

The monthly growth indicator from the business lobby came in at 12 points, on a scale which calculates the difference between the number of firms reporting growth and those saying output has slipped over the last three months. That was the strongest figure since December 2015, built on the back of strong confidence among consumer services firms.

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The CBI said: "Although caution was already affecting business optimism, household spending was supported by stable job creation in a low inflation environment. Business investment was generally holding up well."

The outlook for business confidence in the short-term remains uncertain. A weaker pound should buoy goods exports, analysts have said, but political instability and financial market volatility may weigh on consumer spending and business investment. Moreover, confidence about the future may have been predicted on assumptions that the UK would vote to remain a member of the EU.

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