Confidence among large company finance chiefs in Britain has rebounded in the past three months but they remain cautious about spending money.
For the first time since the spring of 2015, a majority of finance chiefs say they are more optimistic than they were three months earlier, according to Deloitte.
Optimism, which crashed after the Brexit vote, bounced back at its fastest pace for 18 months, according to the latest snapshot from Deloitte of sentiment among finance directors of big listed companies. For the first time since the spring of 2015, a majority of finance chiefs say they are more optimistic than they were three months earlier.
However, 89 per cent of respondents said that they faced high economic and financial uncertainty. The majority expected to cut company spending in 2017, though hiring and capital expenditure intentions improved slightly on three months earlier.
Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte said: “Buoyed by a backdrop of continued UK growth, chief financial officers have become markedly more positive on the outlook for their businesses. However, rising optimism does not represent a return to business as usual.”
Risk appetite remained depressed, he said. “Corporates remain on a defensive footing, with cost reduction and building up cash their top priorities.”
The effect of Brexit was the number one concern for finance chiefs, followed by weak demand in the UK and the prospect of higher interest rates.