Private sector activity in the UK climbed in the three months to November despite chronic supply chain anxieties, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) announced today. The CBI Growth Indicator rose 32% over the last quarter compared to 29% in the previous three months.
UK business activity has now grown at an ‘above average pace’ for seven consecutive surveys according to the indicator, which is a composite of output, sales and volume data distilled from several CBI business surveys across business and professional services.
Data collected before Omicron
Given the challenges across supply chains and rising cost pressures, CBI lead economist Alpesh Paleja said that the resilience shown by the private sector is encouraging. “Our surveys were conducted before concern over the Omicron variant grew, so any impact on activity and confidence will need to be watched closely.”
Paleja added: “Some turbulence had been expected anyway in the three months to December, with consumer services diverging from other sectors.” While the latest numbers look encouraging, the CBI said that manufacturers are likely to up prices by 2.8% in the next quarter – a record rise.
Wholesale prices set to rise by 3.3%
“Higher global and domestic prices for goods are partially passing through to consumer prices, with wholesalers expecting to increase prices by 3.3% over the next year, and retailers expecting to increase prices by 1.9%,” the CBI said in a briefing note.
For the next three months to February, private sector activity is forecast to grow at a slower but still robust pace. While business and professional services firms anticipate some slowdown in growth, consumer services firms expect volumes to be broadly stable, said the CBI.
The CBI’s data was taken from more than 550 firms between 26 October and 16 November 2021.