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Confidence among UK finance chiefs hits record high - Deloitte

Economic IndicatorsApr 11, 2021 07:30PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The City of London financial district can be seen as people walk along the south side of the River Thames, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Confidence among big businesses in Britain about their profits in the year ahead has hit a record high, helped by the country's coronavirus vaccinations and hopes for less Brexit disruption, a survey of chief finance officers showed.

After the biggest hit to Britain's economy in more than three centuries last year, accountancy firm Deloitte said its poll found CFOs were planning to increase hiring and investment.

Most workers were expected to return to their offices between July and September after working from home for much of the past year.

Almost 10% of CFOs had experienced significant or severe disruption due to Brexit but only 3% expected that level of disruption to persist in a year's time, Deloitte said on Monday.

"Brexit has been a significant dampener on business activity in the last four years but with the UK's final departure from the EU, such effects are fading," Ian Stewart, Deloitte's chief economist, said, noting most CFOs still thought Britain's departure from the European Union would hurt their businesses.

"Combined with a successful vaccine rollout and a greatly improved global backdrop, we are seeing a turbo-charged surge in business optimism."

Britain's economy shrank by nearly 10% in 2020 as the country was hit by Europe's highest COVID-19 death toll. But it is expected to start recovering soon as the government lifts its social-distancing rules.

The only category of macroeconomic risk where concerns had risen sharply related to inflation and asset price bubbles, Deloitte said.

A separate survey suggested Brexit and COVID-related problems were continuing for exporters.

The British Chambers of Commerce said 41% of firms reported lower sales in the first three months of 2021, up from an already-high 38% in the previous quarter, led by firms in sectors hardest hit by lockdowns - hospitality, catering, retail and wholesaling.

A third survey showed small firms in Britain were their most confident in more than six years, but one in seven was likely to make some or all employees redundant this quarter.

FSB Chairman Mike Cherry urged the government to offer more incentives for hiring.

"Bringing down the non-wage costs of employment, starting with employer national insurance contributions which essentially serve as a jobs tax, would certainly help," Cherry said.

The Deloitte survey was conducted between March 17 and March 30 and polled 100 CFOs from companies with a combined market value of 547 billion pounds ($751 billion) among UK-listed firms.

The BCC data was based on a poll of 6,103 firms between Feb. 15 and March 11.

The FSB surveyed 1,648 small firms between March 8 and March 22.

($1 = 0.7281 pounds)

Confidence among UK finance chiefs hits record high - Deloitte

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Kesha Fermin
Kesha Fermin Apr 18, 2021 8:54PM ET
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𝚓𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗸 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 $ 1𝚖 𝗶𝗻 90 𝗱𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗺𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘆 𝘀𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺. 𝚒𝘁'𝘀 𝚏𝚛𝚎𝚎 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗽𝗮𝘆𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻 24 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀. 𝚊𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲: 𝘃𝘂𝗿𝗾𝗼𝗽𝗹.𝗴𝗾
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