Economic Outlook “Exceptionally Strong”

Economic growth continued to gather pace in April, alongside predictions of even stronger growth in the next quarter, according to the latest CBI Growth Indicator, published today (April 28).

Output rose from the eight-month low recorded in the previous month and remains well above average, indicating that the UK’s economic recovery is steadily advancing, the employers’ organisation said.

Growth strengthened most across the retail and service sectors, while manufacturing output growth remained solid and expectations for the future were the strongest since the CBI started collecting data in 2003.

According to the survey, the outlook for the next three months is exceptionally strong and broad-based, although consumer spending still accounted for the majority of GDP growth last year.

The survey of 675 respondents across manufacturing, retail and services recorded solid growth in activity, with a positive balance of 25 per cent, up from 19 per cent in March.

In addition, the survey revealed, firms are optimistic that growth will pick up again over the next quarter, with the expectations balance at a record positive level of 42 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said that it expects growth to strengthen in 2014, underpinned partly by rising business and consumer confidence and supportive monetary conditions. Productivity and earnings are also expected to start recovering this year.

The news comes after a week of positive data for the UK from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Bank of England. According to the ONS, weekly earnings have finally caught up with inflation, while the Bank upgraded its economic forecast for the first quarter of 2014 to 1 per cent.

Meanwhile, there was further good news from firms that have been using invoice financing, with a separate study revealing that one firm’s 4,000 clients have recorded the highest level of first-quarter output since 2008.