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UK business optimism improves in Q3

UK businesses saw sales and orders rise at the fastest pace since the recession in Q3 this year, according to research by the British Chambers of Commerce.

The BCC is now likely to raise its GDP forecasts for 2014 as a result of its Q3 summary which is based on the responses from 7,400 companies across the UK.

David Kern, BCC chief economist, said: "The improvement signalled by our survey, with many Q3 key balances higher now than their 2007 pre-recession levels, confirms that the UK recovery is gathering momentum.

"Our growth forecasts for 2013 and 2014 are likely to be upgraded further. However, these results must not lull us into a false sense of security. While growth is expected to continue, the pace of expansion is likely to moderate following the recent spurt."

Of those businesses that took part in the survey, 26% are looking to increase staffing the next three months, the highest level since 2007.


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lifted its growth projections for the UK from 0.9% to 1.4%.

The raised forecast for the UK is in contrast to the IMF's projections for the rest of the world after cutting its forecast by 0.3% to 2.9% for this year.

The IMF said weakness in emerging markets was the reason behind the global forecast reduction.

The IMF is expecting the UK economy to grow by 1.9% in 2014, up from it's July forecast of 1.5%.

Despite the forecast upgrade for the UK's economic prospects, the IMF still said it would take years for the UK to fully recover from the recession and the Government could boost growth further by bringing forward public infrastructure spending and the building new homes.

IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said yesterday: "Six months ago we were worried about growth in the UK coming back. We've been pleasantly surprised," he said.

"It doesn't settle any of the debates. It doesn't tell us whether growth would have come back earlier with a different fiscal framework. When we see risks, we warn. And if the risks are avoided, all the better."

Britain is now expected to end the year with the second fastest annualised growth rate of the G7 group of leading nations.

At 2.3%, the pace of expansion in the three months to December will be better than the US’s 1.9% and only slower than Japan’s quantitative easing-fuelled 3.5% growth.

It is the second time the IMF has upgraded its UK forecast in the last three months.

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