UK prospects beat global economy


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The Independent Online

Firms have become considerably more confident about the outlook for the British economy than for the wider global economy, a survey suggests.

The quarterly Deloitte poll of chief financial officers  shows that 95 per cent believe the prospects for the UK have improved over the past half year.  However, the net percentage who felt the same for emerging market and developing economies was minus 52 per cent. More than half said that eurozone prospects were on the up, against 70 per cent who liked the look of the business environment in the US.

This marks a shift from previous years when emerging markets were seen as the driving force of global growth.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said:  “The default position of large corporates in the past six years – bullish on emerging markets, cautious on developed markets – seems to be reversing.”

The survey found that finance directors’ appetite for risk has reached the highest level since the survey began in 2007, before the financial crisis. More than two in three said that now is a good time to take risk on to their balance sheets. A net 81 per cent expected UK corporates to increase hiring over the next year and four-fifths expected more investment.

The 126 finance directors surveyed included respondents from 27 FTSE 100 and 45 FTSE 250 companies.

Cost of crisis: Banks pay out £28.5bn

The big banks have paid out £28.5bn in fines and litigation costs since the onset of the financial crisis, hitting the value of their assets by 25 per cent, it emerged today.

Mis-selling and Libor rigging are just some of the scandals to have hit lenders such as Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland over the past five years. Accountant KPMG claims that 80 per cent of the profits made by the five largest UK banks last year went towards remediation costs.

Jamie Dunkley