PracticeConsultingFDs split on outlook for UK economy

FDs split on outlook for UK economy

Almost half of UK finance directors are predicting a slowdown in their industry by the end of the year, although almost as many are confident about the future.

In this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Personnel Big Question, 48% of FDs said they expected their sector to be hit by a slowdown. However, 42% of the 345 FDs surveyed said they were not predicting a slowdown, and 10% were undecided.

These findings come as fears grow over the state of the economy. Manufacturers have already moved into recession after reporting two quarters of negative growth, while the FTSE-100 index has fallen by a quarter, and there are signs that agriculture, media and telecoms companies are also suffering.

But optimistic FDs pointed to the buoyant house market and the fall in the value of the pound against the euro as factors pointing away from recession and giving relief to manufacturing.

One said: ‘Our industry is doing well at the moment and we are experiencing growth.’

Another added: ‘I have not seen a slowdown occurring and don’t expect it to happen.’

But those who do believe there will be a recession point to the number of companies reporting recruitment freezes, the US economy and issues such as the long-term effect of foot and mouth.

One FD, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘Recession is already evident. New orders aren’t as strong as they were six months ago. In general there is less confidence than there was six months ago.’

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