The recent Small and Mid-cap Sentiment Index, produced in collaboration with YouGov, tracks business and economic sentiment from quoted company directors and advisors.
Findings show that optimism over the UK economy has retreated to its lowest point since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, resilient business leaders still expect to increase sales and headcount in the coming year.
Confidence in the coming 12 months has suffered amid the fallout from the Truss government mini-budget, the ongoing Ukraine conflict and stubbornly high inflation. At 33.1, the latest company reading from the QCA’s Sentiment Index, produced in collaboration with YouGov, is the second lowest in the survey’s 11-year history. However, quoted companies remain positive that they can carry on growing despite external challenges. On average, those surveyed expect turnover to swell by 11.8% over the next year, down from a predicted 19.7% rise six months ago and they see headcount growing by 5.6% in the same period, which is a reduction from the forecast 10.9% increase in the last research wave.
Companies are less likely to raise fresh capital than six months ago, although if they were to do so, public equity would be the preferred route. Bank finance was briefly favoured ahead of public equity in the QCA/YouGov survey carried out in Q4 2021.