Property confidence hits a new low

Not much happens in the summer but it does give people time to take stock. Grant Thornton have just published their latest International Business Report which among other things takes a snapshot of business confidence. It makes grim reading:

The level of optimism amongst UK privately held businesses (PHBs) has plunged by 57% in the past twelve months, taking the Grant Thornton International optimism/pessimism barometer to an all-time low.

The figures released today form part of Grant Thornton's International Business Report (IBR), which canvassed 7,200 business across 36 countries. In the UK it sought the opinions of CEOs, MDs, Chairmen and senior executives of 600 large and medium business.

67% of UK PHBs have a slightly or very pessimistic outlook for the economy in 2009 compared to a mere 20% that declare any optimism. The UK's result is the most pessimistic recorded since the survey began in 2003 and places it firmly in the bottom ten internationally.

The number of senior executives expressing pessimism was highest in construction and real estate companies (80%), retail (72%) and manufacturing (67%).

Not surprisingly construction and property is furthest into the doldrums with little to get excited about until at least the autumn.

We can probably expect that September will see some relaxation of finance to business and consumers but it looks like being a long heard slog and it's difficult to predict if there will be any recovery. It's quite likely that this is it for the foreseeable future so we had better get used to it.