There was a period in the first quarter when we thought 2012 would be a better year than it has turned out to be. What we’ve seen has been a flat economy, primarily resulting from stresses and strains in the Eurozone. For many businesses this has bred uncertainty and defensive balance-sheet strategies; cash conservation rather than spending; and the postponement of investment and M&A. Although I still meet and see businesses that are performing better than peers in their industry and are finding new business opportunities, across the global economy we would expect to see modest growth in the fourth quarter.
The UK is not immune from what goes on in the world, so to get growth back into the economy, we need to find a catalyst. Governments across the globe recognise this requirement and we have also seen how the world’s central banks have tried to respond; we have had the European Central Bank with its outright monetary transactions, the Federal Reserve with its launch of QE3 and the Bank of England announcing the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), an £80 billion liquidity programme.
‘The key is business confidence and for that we need a period of predictability and stability. It does not matter what your direction of travel is, as long as it is a known direction which people are able to make plans around.’
If you are new to Corporate Banking at Barclays, call us on: 0800 015 4242*