Swathe of data says sentiment up at UK firms

Ben Southwood
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UK BUSINESS confidence is on its way up during the first quarter of 2013, three separate sets of figures indicate this morning.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said that small firms snapped out of the gloom they had wallowed in during the last quarter of 2012, to express optimism in the equivalent survey for this year.

The FSB’s voice of small business index climbed from minus 5.6 then to reach 6.3 during the current quarter, the industry body said.

But compared to a year ago, the proportion of small firms expecting to grow fell from 56 per cent to 54 per cent, on the FSB’s numbers.

This picture of improvement was echoed by BDO’s business trends report.

Business optimism was up 1.7 points to 90.6 in February, the accountancy firm said, though this was a rebound from the 21-year low reached in January, and the index was some 7.4 points below the reading for February 2012.

And the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Deloitte’s marketing confidence monitor also reported improved UK business sentiment.

Their overall index climbed slightly, Deloitte and CIM said, but businesses were still downbeat on growth and investment.