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CBI kills off the recovery before it's begun

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The Confederation of British Industry is not convinced the economy is over the worst, despite its latest survey showing a continued growth in confidence.

The CBI quarterly survey found a small rise in business volume in the three months ended in December, along with a small rise in profitability. But most firms do not expect this growth to continue over the next quarter.

Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Adviser, said: "The bounce in UK financial services activity over the past six months is not expected to last as we enter 2010. Firms see their business volumes falling back again, with no further improvement in profitability over the next three months."

32 per cent of those surveyed said business volumes had increased, versus 28 per cent who said it had fallen, a balance of +4 per cent. But looking forward, +13 per cent believe volumes will fall next quarter - the worst result since December 2008 when 25 per cent expected a fall.

Capital investments plans for the year ahead are flat, but some increase in marketing spending is expected.

The survey found only a small fall in the number of people employed. Some 58 per cent of firms believe there will be no further deterioration in financial markets, but 79 per cent now believe the UK is a less competitive centre for financial services, compared to 66 per cent in September.

The full release is here. Researchers spoke to 83 business leaders between 18 November and 2 December. ®

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