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Island economy outperformed expectations in 2017

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JERSEY’S economy performed better than expected last year, the Economic Development Minister has said, following reports of increased optimism in the finance sector shown in a recent Business Tendency Survey.

The latest Business Tendency Survey shows increased optimism among the Island’s business sector

The survey, which is produced every three months by the States Statistics Unit, showed that businesses saw strong activity growth and that the finance sector in particular recorded positive results.

And Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said the optimism within the sector would lead to increased jobs and gave an indication that business activity in 2018 would continue to be buoyant.

He said: ‘Overall it is a positive survey which indicates that 2017 might have been slightly better economically that we forecast.

‘I can understand that non-financial services weren’t as optimistic when it came to talking about the cost of running business.

‘There are signs now that input costs are evening out a bit and hopefully that will improve the outlook for some of those businesses.’

The survey found that the pressure of rising costs was being felt throughout the business sector, with just three per cent saying their input costs – the cost of running their business – had dropped, compared to 45 per cent which saw a rise.

However, 41 per cent of finance firms reported increased profitability compared to just ten per cent showing a reduction in the last three months of 2017, while 39 per cent saw increased activity in the final quarter of last year compared to 11 per cent which reported a reduction in activity.

Senator Farnham added: ‘Having an optimistic sector is really important – it creates more incentive to invest and therefore create more jobs for Islanders.

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‘We can safely expect financial services to be creating more career opportunities.

He added that the deal to bring Morrison’s to the Island in franchise partnership with Sandpiper also showed that there were opportunities being created in other sectors.

Geoff Cook, the chief executive of Jersey Finance, added: ‘There are a broad range of positive indicators in the latest survey about the prospects for the industry, including increasing numbers reporting new business and a positive outlook on recruitment.

‘A very reassuring finding is that profitability is on the up for more companies in the finance sector, which fuels a more optimistic picture for the future. Over the last three months, a third of businesses in the finance sector reported an increase in profitability compared to only ten per cent seeing a decrease.

‘In addition, the survey recorded that future employment opportunities will be driven primarily by the finance sector – a reflection of the industry’s vital role in the local jobs market.

‘While [it’s] only a snapshot over a three month period, it shows a finance industry which, while resilient to uncertainties elsewhere, not least the outcome of Brexit in the UK, is continuing to build business and support the economy. A finance industry that is demonstrating optimism in its future is clearly in the Island’s best interests too.’

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