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Quoted company optimism shrinks to pandemic levels amid political and economic turmoil

But resilient business leaders still expect to increase sales and headcount in the coming year

OPTIMISM over the UK economy has retreated to its lowest point since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic among small and mid-cap companies, new research for the Quoted Companies Alliance has found.

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.

View the QCA Small and Mid-cap Sentiment Index here

James Ashton, Chief Executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance said: 

“Given the political and financial machinations of the last two months it is no surprise that optimism among quoted companies has been dealt a blow.

“What is important now is a period of certainty and stability for growth stocks seeking to increase sales and hire new staff even as the economic outlook darkens.

“For the longer term, it is vital to keep up momentum in reforming public markets so that London is a go-to destination to raise capital and those companies operating transparently and distributing wealth far and wide are not disadvantaged by onerous cost and complexity.”

– Ends –

Notes to the Editors:

YouGov surveyed 145 quoted company directors and the sector’s advisory firms between October 7 and November 1 2022.
Respondents were scored on a scale where 0 represents “very pessimistic”, 50 “neutral” and 100 “very optimistic”.
The sentiment score for companies dropped to 26.2 in Q2 2020 but rebounded to 68.6, its highest level, one year later as pandemic restrictions eased.

For further Information please contact:

Ruby Halabi
Communications Officer, The Quoted Companies Alliance
T: 020 7397 8140

About The QCA

The Quoted Companies Alliance champions the UK’s community of 1000+ small and mid-sized publicly traded businesses and the firms that advise them.

We believe the public markets can be the best place for companies to source the funds to grow, operate transparently and distribute wealth, fairly.

The QCA seeks to inform policy in dialogue with regulators and government, showcase the latest thinking on leadership, investment, technology and governance through our events and research, and provide a forum to share good practice among members, who are quoted on the Main Market, AIM and the Aquis Stock Exchange.

About YouGov

YouGov is an international research data and analytics group.

Their data-led offering supports and improves a wide spectrum of marketing activities of a customer base including media owners, brands and media agencies. They work with some of the world’s most recognised brands.

Their ground-breaking syndicated data solutions include the daily brand perception tracker, YouGov BrandIndex, and the media planning and segmentation tool, YouGov Profiles. Their market-leading YouGov Realtime service provides a fast and cost-effective solution for reaching nationally representative and specialist samples. YouGov’s Custom Research division offers a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research, tailored by sector specialist teams to meet clients’ specific requirements.

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