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Britain set to move out of recession, says BCC

Britain’s economy is “on the brink of leaving recession”, says the British Chambers of Commerce.

Yet it says there is no conclusive evidence of any robust and significant growth during the fourth quarter of last year.

According to its fourth quarter economic survey published today, most of Britain’s key national indicators have improved. The progress, however, has generally been weaker than it was in the third quarter of 2009.

Although the manufacturing sector saw a boost, several key measures in both the manufacturing and service sectors remain negative. Those include home orders, employment expectations, and investment in plant and machinery.

The BCC says the service sector performed worse than manufacturing in the fourth quarter. Service balances are negative for home sales and orders, employment, cash flow, and investment in plant and machinery.

Director General David Frost says that although the results are not as impressive as hoped, they do contain some positive features.

“Businesses are showing resilience despite difficult and uncertain trading conditions,” he says in a statement. “Confidence is improving, and the boost in exports must be nurtured in order to strengthen Britain’s trade position globally, and to help rebalance the economy away from an over-reliance on the public sector.”

David Kern, the chief economist, says Britain’s economy is “struggling to enter the recovery phase”.

He says that with current pressures on capacity modest, and price pressures muted, the Monetary Policy Committee can afford to maintain an expansionary stance.

Kern says this is necessary to reduce the risk of a double-dip recession. “The government must also play its part and strengthen Britain’s AAA credit rating by urgently producing a more credible medium-term plan for cutting the country’s huge budget deficit, and restraining public spending,” he says in the statement.


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