Quarterly Economic Survey - Ensure Norfolk business has a voice
The Quarterly Economic Survey is the largest independent business survey in the UK. The results are used by the Government and the Bank of England to plan the future of the UK economy. You can have your say by completing the QES online NOW. It takes less than 3 minutes. The completion deadline for this survey is midnight on Monday 09 March 2020. The Q1 results will be released at the beginning of April.
The results from the previous quarter revealed that the UK ended 2019 in stagnation, amid long-term uncertainty, rising business costs and a slowing global economy. The survey found protracted weakness across most indicators of economic health in the final quarter of 2019.
- Norfolk’s service sector indicators worsen and remain well below their historic average
- Norfolk indicators for manufacturing cashflow, home orders, and investment continue to worsen and are firmly in negative territory
The service sector, which accounts for almost 80% of UK economic output, saw a large majority of its key indicators worsen compared to Q3 2019. These indicators remain well below their historic average.
The balance of manufacturers reporting a rise in domestic and export sales fell drastically. However, the balance of manufacturers reporting increased export orders rose from the previous negative position in Q3.
Investment intentions remain weak by historic standards – the balance of local firms in the manufacturing sector that plan to increase investment in plant and machinery dropped back to a negative position – whilst the fall was not as great, both the National and the East of England results also fell.
Cashflow – a key indicator of the health of businesses – Nationally showed a slightly improved result, but remained very weak across both manufacturing and service sectors. Locally, both the Norfolk and the East of England service and manufacturing sectors reported decreased cashflow (-6 and -10 respectively in Norfolk and -10 and -4 in the East of England).
Key Norfolk findings in the Q4 2019 survey:
- The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales fell from +8 in Q3 2019 to -7. Those reporting increased domestic orders fell from 0 to -12.
- The balance of firms reporting improved export sales dropped from -5 to -12. Those reporting increased export orders fell from -5 to -31, and all-time low.
- The balance of firms reporting improved cashflow fell from +2 to -6
- The balance of firms looking to increase investment in plant and machinery remained at -14 but rose slightly from +7 to +9 for training
- The balance of firms confident that turnover and profitability will improve over the next year increased from +10 to +26 for turnover and from -5 to -4 for profitability. Despite these slight improvements, the figures still remain weak.
- The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales fell from 0 in Q3 2019, to -20
- While those reporting increased domestic orders continued to fall from -11 to -20
- The balance of firms reporting improved export sales rose from -6 to +11
- The balance of firms reporting increased export orders improved considerably from -24 to 0
- The balance of firms reporting improved cashflow fell deeper into negative territory from -5 in Q3 to -20 in Q4
- The balance of firms increasing investment in plant/machinery fell from +10 to -10 and investment in training rose from +10 to +30
- The balance of firms confident that turnover and profitability will increase in the next 12 months fell from +38 to +10 for turnover and from +14 to 0 for profitability. This is still much lower than the post-recession average.