Business optimism surveys in recent days confirm the economic recovery continues, if anything at a slightly stronger pace than previously expected suggesting potential upside surprises in Q1 GDP. First we saw improvements in manufacturing – which continue – and now we are seeing strong rises in business optimism amongst services companies. The rate of recovery was expected to slow in China, but the latest surveys suggest otherwise.
In the US, some sentiment metrics are the highest on record and encouragingly broad based possibly reflecting the Biden administration proposals for further fiscal stimulus. Labour markets are also picking-up in the US especially in Covid-19 sensitive sectors, reflecting vaccine progress as well as better weather. The UK’s progressive vaccination programme has already helped manufacturing sentiment and we expect services to follow suit this week. Input pricing pressures and supply disruption feature in most surveys but these are likely to prove transitory.