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CFOs 'feeling positive'


Many of the UK's leading chief financial officers are feeling positive about the forthcoming 12 months.

A survey of 122 key chief financial officers, conducted by Deloitte, discovered more than 50 per cent feel financial pressure easing and they are now willing to take more risks.

There was also strong support for the idea of market expansion and increased staff recruitment over the next year, especially if access to bank lending begins to ease up for many business sectors.

The research showed seven in ten of the finance figures are predicting that firm recruitment will rise in 2014 and 65 per cent believe there will be higher capital expenditure by UK companies as economic uncertainty lessens.

It seems that positivity amongst the chief financial officers is now at its highest level since the annual Deloitte survey started in 2008.

"There has been a dramatic change," Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, told Reuters.

"If you compare how chief financial offers felt going into 2013, with how they feel about 2014, there has been a dramatic decline in perceptions of risk, particularly in relation to the euro zone, a big fall in the fears of recession and further improvements in credit availability."

Mark Carney, the new governor of the Bank of England, also proved popular with the chief financial officers; with 49 per cent saying his current policy approach has helped to boost confidence within the finance sector.

There have been a number of positive signs of a possible recovery in 2014, with mortgage lender Nationwide recently reporting an increase of eight per cent in UK house prices. 

In addition, the latest labour market statistics from the Office for National Statistics show the number of people out of work had fallen by 99,000 in the three months from August to October compared to the previous quarter - bringing the total number out of work to 2.39 million - the lowest rate since 2009.

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