Downbeat manufacturing casts doubt over growth


The British Chambers of Commerce's latest quarterly survey of more than 7,500 companies has revealed that the manufacturing and services sectors suffered a slowdown during the first three months of the year, after strong increases in the final quarter of 2014. The latest data is likely to fuel concerns that Britain's GDP has struggled to grow in the first quarter, although BCC chief economist David Kern sought to play down such fears, saying that whilst he is disappointed by the numbers, the survey did 'not necessarily replicate quarterly GDP movements as published by the ONS' and the ONS could well report increased GDP, or at least no change. BCC director-general John Longworth also noted that the survey showed 'businesses remain optimistic, though they expect to grow at a slightly slower rate over the coming months'. The BCC's assertion that inflation will remain low for some time was also supported by the survey, which found that intentions to raise prices have fallen sharply in manufacturing and are down slightly in services.


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