Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Bishop Fleming, have released the results of the latest quarterly economic report, outlining key economic indicators for Quarter 1 (Q1) 2020.
The results of the Q1 report paint a mixed picture that only a nuanced approach can unpick. At the start of Q1 business investment and confidence stabilised, as a result of the assumption of a majority in the House of Commons. This upwards trajectory has now been offset by the COVID-19 crisis. Indicators suggest the economy remains stagnated, deprived of the much-needed relief from the relentless political uncertainty of 2019. The weak outputs of 2019 have been extended; poor cash flow and low export sales and orders dominate the Q1 economic picture. The collision of two opposing forces are captured in this report; as the reduction of political uncertainty pushed up business confidence, the arrival of the coronavirus during the final week of data collection hampered cash flow and export. It is the overlap of these two opposing forces which have created the tensions in this report.
This report captures a snapshot of the economy prior to the crisis phase of the Coronavirus. Due to the period of data collection, it captures the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak when the UK remained in the containment stage. It is likely that the true impact of the cross-national issue will be felt in the coming weeks and will be demonstrated by the economic information produced in the next data collection period during Quarter 2 2020.
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce are now in the process of data collecting for Quarter 2 which closes on Monday 8 June. They are calling for local organisations to take part and help them tell government about the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses. This information will be anonymised and given to the government to lobby for business support during the economic restart and recovery from coronavirus.
To read the full report, based on information from over 600 businesses, click here.
For more information on the QES survey from Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce on their website here.