QES Q3 2023 Report

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce are pleased to release the results of the latest Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3 2023, outlining business performance in the three months up to September. I would like to thank our sponsors for this survey, Worcestershire County Council for their support. The questions they asked were sustainability themed and you will see the results of them in the report.

I would like to thank all 360 businesses that completed this survey out of 5001 businesses that completed nationally, our Chamber is consistently in the top 3 Chambers for QES responses, which is a testament to the commitment from our local businesses that support the Chamber in providing invaluable data for us to share with the British Chambers of Commerce.

The results we have received have reasons for optimism as well as reasons for concern, with UK sales decreasing this quarter as well as overseas sales. On the other hand, cash flow has increased, which offers optimism for businesses.

Inflation and interest rates are of significant interest to businesses and, along with energy costs, were the most significant factors of concern to businesses that answered the QES. However, despite the concern reported by businesses, inflation unexpectedly fell in August to 6.7%. Despite the figure remaining high, it is promising that inflation is gradually easing. The figure was a surprise, as economists forecast an increase in inflation to 7%. In terms of our local data, 59% of businesses that answered the QES highlighted inflation as a factor of concern, down from 61% in Q2 and 67% in Q1. Businesses will welcome the recent decision by the Bank of England to hold the interest rate at 5.25%. Constant hikes in the cost of borrowing have had a hugely detrimental impact on the firms we represent. Recent research by the BCC’s Insight Unit found that 46% of companies said current interest rates are having a negative impact as costs of borrowing and mortgages go up. 37% of businesses reported interest rates as a cause for concern over the last three months, increasing from 30% in Q2.

These results and more will be detailed in full throughout the report. I hope you find the report useful to your business, and I thank you again for taking part in the survey.

QES_Q3 2023 (spreads) to download your free copy of the report.