11 January 2017

Hard on the heels of the confident forecast by the Institute of Directors (IoD), reported earlier this week, comes more good news from the latest Business Trends Report by accountants and business advisers BDO LLP.

BDO’s Optimism Index, which indicates how firms expect their order books to develop in the coming six months, increased from 98.0 to 102.2 in December, above its long-term trend.

This signals, the company said, that businesses are continuing to stay resilient following the referendum result, the declining value of sterling and volatility in the global economy.

BDO Partner Peter Hemington explained: "Brexit may mean gloomy news in the press and, at times, chaos in Government. But our business community is getting on with it on the basis that opportunities for growth are there to be grabbed."

Referring to a general feeling that the world economy is picking up again, he said that confidence had also been helped by the impact of the currency depreciation on export competitiveness.

Mr Hemington also pointed to sharp improvement in both the manufacturing and services sectors which gained momentum towards the close of 2016 with UK car production seeing the strongest November in 17 years.

"This four-point increase in optimism was the sharpest observed since 2009 and indicates businesses are as confident as they were in September 2015," he highlighted.

BDO’s Employment Index, which reflects firms’ hiring intentions, has remained resilient and continues to be above the long-term trend.