Economy poll: Outlook stagnant

The economic prospects for 2011 are looking stagnant rather than dire, according to the majority of respondents in AccountingWEB.co.uk’s latest poll.

Out of the 59 votes cast in our economic outlook poll, 64% took the view that the economy would remain fairly stagnant during 2011.

This mood supports the view of the Office of Budget Responsibility, whose prediction of 1.3% growth for 2011-12 was quoted by the chancellor during his emergency Budget speech in June.

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John Stokdyk's picture

CBI upbeat on retail trends

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Earlier today the CBI released a distributive trades survey showing that 55% of retailers saw sales volumes rise in the first two weeks of November. Looking ahead to the crucial pre-Christmas period, retailers expect strong sales volume growth to continue in December (+45%), and a net 11% of retailers expect the overall business situation to improve over the next three months.

However Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, sent us the following comment: "The improvement in the CBI data for November is a big surprise, given the recent weakening that we've seen in consumer confidence. However, this survey appears to have overstated sales growth compared with official data in recent months, so must be treated with some caution. The survey also showed that retailers were upbeat about prospects for Christmas, but this conflicts with a growing body of evidence which suggests that retailers are in for a tough festive season. Belts look set to be tightened as the impact government spending cuts become an increasing reality for growing numbers of households. The retailer's plight also looks set to worsen in coming months as real incomes, already falling by 3% after taxes and inflation, will drop further as VAT is hiked in January. A boost to sales from the buying of high-priced goods ahead of the VAT rise is also by no means assured, as consumers' intentions to buy big-ticket items has dropped even below that seen at the height of the financial crisis."