Europe swings back to growth as bosses’ confidence picks up –

Growth is surging across the continent – some of the biggest improvements were in the Netherlands, Portugal, and Austria, with only companies in Turkey and Poland reporting a net deterioration.

“The European recovery has moved up a gear. The mood among businesses across the continent has brightened and this has fed through to a growing willingness to invest and hire,” said Deloitte’s chief economist Ian Stewart.

“The shift by the big allocators of capital in Europe towards growth strategies tells us that this recovery has staying power.”

The biggest single improvement came in the UK, where the balance swung from negative territory into positive figures, indicating that fears of a worsening environment were mistaken and companies are now increasingly upbeat.

Stronger revenues are driving that improvement and encouraging businesses to adopt growth plans despite sustained political uncertainty. The picture in the UK is held back, however, by rising inflation, which is putting companies’ profit margins under pressure.

Just over a third of European businesses expect to hire more workers this year while 22pc expect to cut staff, leaving a net balance of 11pc – up from 5pc at the end of 2016, indicating strengthening confidence.

Irish companies are the most upbeat – 67pc there want to hire more staff while only 4pc are shrinking the workforce – with Belgian firms close behind.

Europe swings back to growth as bosses’ confidence picks up –

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