British services firms’ confidence rose this month to the highest level in a year and they forecast a pick-up in business in the next three months, a survey showed yesterday.
The quarterly poll by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) offers hope that stronger growth in the dominant services sector would help prevent another economic contraction between last month and next month.
That would pull Britain out of its second recession since the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
The sentiment measurement for the current business situation rose to -2 from -9 in February for consumer service providers and to +8 from -8 for business and professional service companies — both the highest readings since May last year, the business lobby said.
Firms across both sub-sectors predicted that business volumes and values would grow in the coming months after falling in the three months to this month, and that profitability would rise.
“Despite the continued uncertainty emanating from Europe, there are some signs that conditions in the UK service sector are beginning to improve slightly,” the CBI’s chief economic advisor, Ian McCafferty, said.
The improvement was particularly striking for consumer service firms, which include hotels, restaurants and travel agents. Respondents expected business volumes to rise for the first time since August 2010, with the relevant measurement jumping to +12 from -21.
As for business and professional service companies, such as accountancy, law and marketing firms, they forecast growth in business volumes for the first time in a year, with the corresponding measurement rising to +4 from -6.