Optimism grows for Scottish economy

The Scottish economy continued to strengthen in the first two months of 2014, according to the latest Business Monitor from the Bank of Scotland.

Out of the 401 surveyed firms, 41 per cent increased turnover and 23 per cent saw a decrease in the three months to February 2014. This gave a net balance of +18 per cent, a significant improvement on the -5 per cent recorded in the same quarter last year.

Key findings:

  • Exports in the last three months recorded a net balance of +12 per cent compared to -14 per cent in the previous quarter 
  • Export expectations for the next six months recorded a net balance of +42 per cent, the highest since the monitor began 16 years ago
  • Turnover expectations for the next six months are at +37 per cent.

Donald MacRae, chief economist, Bank of Scotland said:

"The surge in economic activity identified in summer 2013 has been maintained through autumn and winter with the latest quarter showing the second best result in six and a half years.

"Expectations for 2014 are at their highest level since mid-2007 suggesting the recovery will continue throughout 2014 and will become increasingly embedded. An increase in investment by firms would further enhance the recovery."

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the survey:

"...provides great optimism for businesses across the country. Expectations for Scotland's economy are at the highest level since 2007, economic activity is on the increase and it is very welcome news indeed that export activity is rising too.

"Together with business expectations for export activity at an all-time survey high this is encouraging news for a Scottish economy which is growing and creating more jobs."