UK ECONOMIC confidence fell to one of its lowest levels of the decade in the last quarter of 2017, despite raised hopes of a Brexit transition deal.
The Global Economic Conditions Survey, produced by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), reveals that although economic confidence increased from the second quarter, it fell from the third quarter to one of the lowest levels since the survey began in 2011.
Volatility in economic confidence is expected to remain a feature of the next 12 months until investors and businesses gain more certainty about a future UK-EU deal, the report said.
The biggest concern among ACCA and IMA members is rising costs, cited by 49 per cent of respondents. There has been a slump in sterling since the Brexit vote, which has pushed up import costs.
Other concerns include currency movements, problems securing payment and access to finance.
Narayanan Vaidyanathan, head of business insights at the ACCA, said: “While hopes have increased for a [Brexit] transition deal which minimises short-term disruption, there are significant concerns about rising costs and exchange rate fluctuations.”
The UK findings are at odds with a more positive global picture.
Economic confidence remained relatively high at the end of 2017, despite a slight dip from the previous quarter, with an improved economic outlook in the US and South Asia offsetting a more cautious mood in China.