QES Q4 show a mixed set of results but high confidence going into 2022

QES Q4 show a mixed set of results but high confidence going into 2022

The Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey – part of the UK’s largest independent business survey and a leading indicator of UK GDP growth – has found that businesses have high confidence going into 2022 but tempered with significant price pressures constraining activity.

Running from 1st to 21st November, the survey was conducted prior to the Omicron variant impacting on the nation.

UK market figures have seen a small dip but remain relatively strong, with both sales and orders moving further into positive territory and returning to 2018 levels, with sales shifting from +38 to +29 and orders increasing from +27 to +11.

Overseas sales and orders have returned to negative territory following a positive Q3, with sales moving from +15 to -13 and orders slightly decreasing from 0 to -7.

Future recruitment intentions have held strong this quarter rising slightly from +16 to +18, whilst future recruitment plans remain high at +32 indicating that we should see strong levels of recruitment in Q1 2022.

The balance of responses of businesses expecting to increase prices in the next 3 months has smashed previous records, increasing from +59 to +68. Raw material prices and other overheads remain the key drivers of these price pressures, with inflation remaining the biggest concern for 66% of respondents.

Despite the mixed set of results, there is high confidence that 2022 will see improvements in terms of profitability and turnover, with the latter moving from +41 to +50.

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our latest survey shows a positive outlook for the economy going in to 2022, however with companies now having to tackle the impact of Omicron and further changes to rules on imports and exports of goods to the EU, as well as ongoing supply chain disruption and recruitment challenges and rising energy costs, means there are significant hurdles for businesses in the months ahead.

“As a Chamber network we have lobbied for support and if the current restrictions persist or are tightened further then a much more comprehensive support package that matches the scale of any new measures, will need to be put in place.

“The focus is to create an environment for Lincolnshire businesses to grow, thrive and succeed.”

The focus is to create an environment for Lincolnshire businesses to grow, thrive and succeed.

Cllr Colin Davie, executive councillor for economy at the Lincolnshire County Council, said: “There’s some renewed confidence that 2022 will see continued recovery for our county businesses – with many looking to recruit now and in the future, and a more positive outlook. Globally though conditions remain tough with new variants of Covid, price increases and supply chain difficulties all playing a part in continued pressures.

“Before Christmas, the government announced further financial support for specific sectors most affected by the spread of Covid 19. We’re expecting more information on this soon and along with local support, I hope Lincolnshire businesses will continue to have confidence in an improving outlook.”

The full briefing can be seen here.

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