Manufacturing balances at all-time highs, but access to finance a critical issue

There is strong evidence to suggest that the UK economy is continuing to grow, however access to finance remains a critical issue for businesses as they look to expand and meet growing order books, according to The British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) Q1 Quarterly Economic Survey published today. The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey is the first major economic survey of the quarter, and is closely watched by the Bank of England and the Treasury.

Risk appetite among UK-based companies "hits record high"

British companies are increasingly likely to spend, a survey has showed today The risk appetite among chief financial officers has risen in the first quarter of 2014, hitting 71% - its highest level since 2007. A survey conducted by Deloitte of 126 CFOs showed that there has been a marked reduction in uncertainty about the UK economy coupled with optimism about an improvement in financial conditions.

"Petrol prices at three-year low" - AA

Petrol prices have fallen to their lowest in three years, says the Automobile Association.

The AA said prices averaged 129.46p a litre in mid-March, nearly 9p cheaper compared with a year ago when the average was 138.42p a litre.

They also added that recent wholesale cuts suggested there could be another fall of up to 2p in the near future.

Diesel prices averaged 136.59p a litre, their lowest since July 2012.

The ABFA comments on British Chamber of Commerce predictions

The British Chambers of Commerce predicts that Britain’s GDP will finally catch and exceed its 2008 peak within the next few months. Strong growth in consumption and the services sector in 2014 will take the UK back to where it was six years ago.

The BCC upgraded its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecasts from 2.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent in 2014 and from 2.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent in 2015. The BCC also forecast economic expansion of 2.5% for 2016.

UK service sector continues to "expand strongly"

A Markit survey has indicated that the UK service sector continued to "expand strongly" in February 2014, with job creation at its fastest pace for four months.

The expansion is also supported by another marked increase in new business.

The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the sector was 58.2 last month and, although this is below January's reading of 58.3, it is well above the 50 level that indicates expansion.