UK companies still growing steadily despite Brexit fears – CBI

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A man walks in front of the City of London financial district of London, Britain November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

British companies continued to grow modestly in the three months to November and are expected to keep up that pace into 2017, a survey showed on Sunday, chiming with a resilient picture for the British economy so far since June’s EU referendum vote.

The survey by the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI)showed private sector growth gathered a little bit of speed compared with the three months to October.

Retailers and consumer-facing firms said sale volumes edged higher, reflecting how many British households have continued to spend after the Brexit vote in June.

But for manufacturers, growth slowed and the outlook remained sluggish as cost pressures linked to the post-referendum fall in the value of sterling caused many companies to worry about inflation.

“It’s encouraging to see that growth in the private sector continues to perk up, and that steady growth is expected as we head into 2017,” Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said in a statement.

“The high street has had a good month, even before we see the impact of Black Friday and Christmas shopping, whilst our manufacturers and services sector are seeing subdued growth.”

Investment intentions for the year ahead stabilised after falling sharply after the referendum but remained below their levels before the June referendum, the CBI said.

(Reporting by Adela Suliman; Editing by William Schomberg)

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