Businesses show increase in confidence for the coming 6 months after a challenging end to 2019

  • The Fraser of Allander Business Monitor is one of the first major surveys of Scottish firms post-election.
  • The figures show that the outlook for business activity, investment and employment are at their highest level since 2014. This follows a challenging end to 2019 for all these indicators.
  • Expectations of growth in the Scottish economy over the next year have also improved, with more firms believing it will be moderate, and less believing it will be weak.

You can read the full Business Monitor here.

Scottish Business Monitor Dashboard

  Q4 2019 3-year average Change over quarter Change over year
FAI Business Activity Index (net % balance*) 5 80 -5 ▼
New Business 2 9 -1 ▼ -8 ▼
Turnover 4 9 -4 ▼ -9 ▼
Costs 63 54  7 ▲ 8 ▲
New Capital Investment -9 -7 -6 ▼ -5 ▼
Export Activity -11 0 -3 ▼ -5 ▼

Our principal indicator of activity – the FAI Business Activity Index – remained unchanged this quarter, and just below its three-year average.

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February 6, 2020

Economic statisticians, irony and Scotland’s latest trade statistics

Economists aren’t known for their sense of humour. Economics statisticians less so.

So it was highly ironic – albeit perhaps not very funny – that just two days before the UK’s departure from the EU, analysts in the Scottish Government published their latest annual account of Scottish exports.

As expected, much of the reaction concentrated on the importance of the EU for Scottish trade.

But the statistics also contain interesting information about the pattern of trade from Scotland more generally.

In this blog, we take a look at a couple of these trends, and notably the importance of manufacturing.

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February 5, 2020

2019 Sir Alexander Stone Lecture: ‘Brexit: the unanswered questions for UK and Scottish policymakers’

Introduction

Thank you Andrew and can I add my welcome to everyone for coming along this evening.

I must confess to only knowing of Sir Alexander Stone as the name on the building at Glasgow where my economics lectures used to be held.

For those of you who don’t know, he was a banker and philanthropist helping to support a number of notable cause across the country.

He was also the son of Jewish parents who fled Russia in the early 20th century to escape persecution.

In these current times, it does no harm to be reminded of our shared history and the importance of human values, respect, tolerance and solidarity.

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November 6, 2019

Brexit: A deal on the horizon?

Against all odds, it would appear that *some* progress has been made with regard to a possible deal that would see the UK leave the EU on the 31st October.

Securing an agreement in just 17 days is far from guaranteed and it seems likely that, even if some further progress is made, a short temporary delay – either to iron out any remaining administrative issues or to allow for a UK General Election – seems likely.

So what might this new deal mean for the Scottish economy?

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October 14, 2019

What could “no-deal” mean for the Scottish Economy?

Three years ago, we launched this blog shortly after the EU referendum.

Since then, we’ve tracked the performance of the Scottish economy through a period of unprecedented uncertainty.

Back in 2016, virtually no one – apart from a small number on the fringes of the debate – was even prepared to consider the prospects the UK leaving the EU without a deal. A smooth exit, a new relationship with the EU and the prospect of new trade deals was supposedly going to be straightforward.

Jump forward to today and the prospects of a ‘no deal’ outcome remains a distinct possibility. The hard-work on agreeing any future trade deal has yet to even start.

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September 9, 2019