Review of Scottish business surveys [February 2012]

Lockyer, Cliff and Malloy, Eleanor (2012) Review of Scottish business surveys [February 2012]. Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, 35 (3). pp. 39-43. ISSN 2046-5378

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Well into January 2012 surveys of Scottish business, in common with UK and European surveys, continued to highlight ongoing and deepening concerns as to the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone. These, together with continuing fears of recession, with more signs of a slowdown both in the UK and internationally, forecasts of lower rates of growth in 2012, continuing consumer insecurity and pressures on household spending continued to dampen business confidence and activity. However, amongst the latest UK wide surveys there are some tentative suggestions that activity, outside the construction and retail sectors, was lowest in October/November, as reflected in the fourth quarter UK results, but has picked up since then. The latest UK PMI for January reported an increase in the service sector, at the fastest rate since March 2011. But it remains unclear if this echoes last year, with good survey figures for the first quarter, but fading later in the year as the headwinds facing the UK economy remain, or represents the first signs of a more permanent upward trend.