CBI: Private sector growth accelerating

Posted: 2 Mar 2017

PRIVATE sector growth picked up in the three months to February, according to the CBI’s latest survey.

Polling across the manufacturing, distribution and service sectors showed that growth rose to a balance of plus 15 per cent, climbing from the balance of 10 per cent in the three months to January.

The uptick was largely driven by a rebound in consumer services, which saw the fastest growth in business volumes since August 2015. 

Retail sales and manufacturing output also grew at solid pace, the latter mirroring its performance in the quarter to January. However, the business and professional services sector saw no change in volumes.

Similarly decent growth of 17 per cent in forecast over the next quarter.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “The economy is growing solidly, with consumer-facing sectors leading the way for now. And it’s encouraging that firm growth is expected to continue over the next three months.

“However, with inflation set to rise even further, this will dampen households’ spending power, and growth is likely to slow as the year progresses. Rising costs will add to the pressures on businesses too, so they will be looking for a steady hand on the tiller at the Budget and action on the rising burden from business rates. 

“By committing to invest in skills and innovation, through a truly modern Industrial Strategy, the Chancellor can take long-term steps to set the British economy on the right path for the future.”

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