UK business output rises

Julian Harris
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BUSINESS output soared at the end of the 2011’s first quarter, marking a positive development for the UK’s economic recovery, a leading survey revealed today.

Output jumped to 99.3 in March, the index showed, up sharply from 94.8 in February – “one of the largest monthly increases since the report began in 1996,” according to accountancy network BDO.

All figures above 95 indicate growth, while the 100 mark indicates trend growth.

However, inflation expectations continue to escalate, rising to their highest level since November 2008, according to the poll.

The BDO inflation index jumped one point in March to 106.2, from 105.2 in February.

The inflation index was at 98.6 one year ago, yet has remained above the 100 mark since then as price pressures continue to build.

“Although this month’s data show marked improvement, the recovery is still far from guaranteed,” said BDO’s Peter Hemington.

“The current rate of growth [indicated by the index] merely returns the UK economy to its position prior to 2010’s quarter four contraction of 0.5 per cent, rather than heralding sustained economic recovery,” the report said.

Nonetheless, business confidence also peaked in the business trends survey, up to 98 in March from 95.5 in February – its highest reading since April last year, although still below trend.

Employment prospects rose above trend in March, to an index rating of 100.5, the highest since September 2008.

The employment index has jumped 6.9 points since December’s miserable reading of 93.6.