Cautious optimism

We may have said it before, but after a week of green shoots which, to quote the Financial Times, would even ‘please the most demanding horticulturalist’, we thought we’d say it again: let’s not get too excited.

This week has seen plenty of indications the economy may be heading towards recovery: a report on Thursday showed British manufacturing had risen by 0.2% in April, while Wednesday saw the markets close with the Pound at a high of 1.1756 against the Euro.

But while these indications might mean businesses can be forgiven for being cautiously optimistic, let’s not get ahead of ourselves: despite indications the UK could be heading towards recovery, Argos boss Terry Duddy has warned he will ‘continue to plan cautiously’ until he sees firm evidence the economy is in recovery.

“I don’t think we’re strong proponents of green shoots at this early stage of the year,” he told The Telegraph. “The first quarter was helped by increases in disposable income because of lower interest rates, and it was not offset by unemployment. That could change.”

Chancellor Alistair Darling echoed Duddy on the front page of the Financial Times this morning: “I think it is important that people should not become complacent [about the recovery],” he said. “We have got to live within our means."

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