The future economic challenges and opportunities for North East businesses in 2019 were set out by the deputy agent of the Bank of England, Gareth Harrison, at a Chamber Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) briefing.
Held at Café 21, Newcastle, Gareth Harrison initially reviewed how accurate 2018’s predictions had borne out with several successful outcomes including the labour market tightening, which was echoed in the latest QES results.
He said: “The global picture is much more mixed this year with heightened geopolitical risk and less substantial growth than expected in some of the world’s major economies such as Germany. These factors could potentially impact on our own financial conditions here in the UK.”
His presentation outlined the positive statistics on the UK economy at present in particular with employment at a historical high and also forecast that GDP growth would be slightly ahead of the Bank’s ‘speed limit’ of 1.5% in the coming year.
Business magazine editor Alison Cowie of North East Times spoke at the event and gave her predictions for the companies to watch for 2019 in particular NBS which is looking to expand internationally.
She outlined the great advantages of businesses being based in the North East including the encouragement of innovation but added there was more investment needed. There was a need to attract more investment to the region and an urgent need to stop the uncertainty over Brexit.
The launch complemented the QES statistics for Q4 revealed in early January with business performance and confidence improving somewhat towards the end of the year. Growth in domestic sales and a rebound in exports were the main contributors to this, with scores for both indicators well ahead of where they were three months ago.
The first survey for 2019 opens on 20 February and the results are used to inform the Chamber’s campaigns to support businesses.