Upbeat UK services set for strong 2014

 

Corporate Britain is ready to start 2014 with a bang as confidence hits a four-year high among the nation's all-important services firm.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply says the services sector — ranging from accounting and IT to hotels and restaurants — was in its most upbeat mood since March 2010 last month, heralding a strengthening economic recovery this year.

It comes after Deloitte’s latest snapshot of sentiment in the nation’s boardrooms showed the share of finance chiefs now willing to take risk onto their balance sheets is now the highest in the six-year history of the survey. The EEF manufacturers’ organisation also showed 70 per cent of top manufacturing bosses believe the economy will improve this year.

The Cips survey — where a score over 50 signals growth — eased slightly from 60 to a six-month low of 58.8 in December, albeit still consistent with healthy expansion.

But new orders remain “reassuringly robust”, firms are taking on staff and the average growth rate over the last quarter for the biggest slice of the UK economy is the strongest in the survey’s 20-year history.

Combined with buoyant survey data from construction and manufacturing firms, it puts the wider economy on course for 1 per cent growth in the final quarter of 2013, according to Chris Williamson, chief economist of survey compiler Markit.

Rob Wood, chief UK economist at Berenberg Bank, said: “Firms’ confidence had been the missing ingredient in the surveys. They had been recording very strong output growth, rising productivity, but worries that it would not continue.

The expectations balance from the services purchasing manager index has given a good leading read on growth over the past few years, so the jump this month is potentially the most important information in today’s release.”

The Cips survey showed the healthiest conditions among computing and and IT firms, transport and communications and financial services, although consumer-facing businesses made slower progress as wages still lag the cost of living.

Respondents also noted pressure from rising energy, fuel and utility bills and commented on rising average wages, which Bank of England rate-setters will keep an eye on.

In Europe, Markit’s upbeat survey of private manufacturing and services firms also put the eurozone on track for faster growth in the current quarter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas