The Q4 ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) shows that, despite some good news for exporters, the confidence levels of many UK businesses remains low.
Uncertainty is never good for confidence and there are still many unanswered questions about the form and implications of Brexit. Confidence is also affected by the prospect of consumers losing spending power due to expected increases in inflation.
While export growth is strong, domestic sales growth seems to be slowing. Businesses report increasing spare capacity and profits being squeezed by input prices rising more quickly than sales prices.
The net result is that, overall, businesses expect to hire fewer people and invest less.
The Chancellor has a tricky balancing act to perform with the Autumn statement. Many businesses will be looking for some positive announcements to buoy up confidence as we continue to digest the implications of the Brexit vote.