CBI Monthly Growth Indicator flatlined in April as Brexit impasse continues to bite

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CBI Monthly Growth Indicator(Shutterstock)

The CBI Monthly Growth Indicator showed that economic activity in the private sector was flat in the quarter to April, and it’s only expected to pick up slightly over the summer. Anna Tobin reports

The CBI Monthly Growth Indicator’s composite measure is based on 532 respondents across the distribution, manufacturing and service sectors and it showed the balance of firms reporting growth as 0%. This marks a sixth consecutive quarter of flat or decreasing volumes.

Activity continued to fall in business and professional services, but this was balanced by a rise in growth in manufacturing and distribution. Within distribution, retail sales recovered after falling for five consecutive quarters, it is thought that this could be due to Easter trading.

Private sector activity is expected to pick up only slightly over the next quarter to July, largely due to a recovery in services volumes.

“Underlying growth remains subdued, highlighting the need for the fog of uncertainty to be lifted so businesses can plan and invest with confidence, allowing the UK to tackle issues other than Brexit,” says Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI chief economist.

“As recent protests have highlighted, climate change requires urgent attention and global leadership. There are plenty more projects, from combating underperforming productivity to making our workforce match fit for the future, which are left unfinished while the current Brexit impasse continues.

“Getting growth going again needs a relentless focus on the UK’s domestic agenda and progression to the second stage of talks with the EU, our biggest trading partner. Time-wasting is not an option.”

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