UK manufacturers are looking forward to robust growth in the first half of 2014, according to BDO's latest Business Trends report. Buoyant readings for both the services and manufacturing sectors indicated sustained economic growth was likely during the first half of the year, the accountancy and advisory firm said.
In the services sector, new orders and clients' willingness to commit to contracts lifted optimism to just above the 100 mark indicating trend growth at 100.7 in December, up from 100.4 in November.
The manufacturing confidence sub-index reached 115.5, up from 115.3, close to its all-time high, suggesting the sector would see robust growth through the second quarter of 2014.
Business confidence showed similar improvement as BDO's Optimism Index, which predicts business performance two quarters ahead, reached 103.4 in December, up from 103.1 in the previous month. This is the index's highest reading in seven-and-a-half years.
The Employment Index also reached a 30-month peak, as hiring expectations catch up with improving business confidence.
Simon Walton is a Partner and Head of the Retail & Consumer Practice at Berwick Partners.