Britain is set to dodge a triple-dip recession and be on the road to recovery thanks to near record levels of exports from the services sector, The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said today.
Figures from the business group’s latest economic survey of more than 7,000 firms showed that output from the services sector in the first three months of 2013 was close to the record highs seen in 1994.
The survey also showed that although employment had weakened, business confidence had grown.
The results also demonstrated that UK businesses are confident and looking to invest and increase exports this year.
David Kern, BCC chief economist, said that any announcements of a triple-dip recession keeping the first quarter’s negative growth in mind will damage business confidence “unnecessarily”.
“The survey reinforces our assessment that recent gross domestic product (GDP) figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have exaggerated the weakness of the UK economy and the volatility in output.
“If an announcement of negative growth in the first quarter is misleadingly described as a triple-dip recession, confidence will again be damaged unnecessarily,” he added.
Figures released by ONS in January suggested that the economy shrank by 0.3% in the last three months of 2012.
The BCC’s overall verdict was that it expects the UK economy to record “positive but subdued growth” in 2013.
“We must be proactive, bold and forthright to bolster business,” John Longworth, director general of the BCC, said.
“The fall in most employment balances is disappointing, and reminds us that a strong labour market cannot be taken for granted. We should not be satisfied with a long and tortuous road to recovery.
“These results provide a glimpse of the as-yet-distant sunlit uplands of recovery – businesses up and down the country are working hard to drive the economy, create jobs and export, but they cannot accelerate this process alone.”
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