UK factories optimistic for 2018 despite Brexit concerns, survey finds

A majority of companies polled expect global demand and growth in export markets to sustain order books

Britain’s manufacturers are more upbeat about the state of the global economy than at any time since 2014 and believe demand from overseas will sustain their businesses through another year of Brexit uncertainty, a survey has shown.

The poll by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and the insurance firm AIG found 40% of the companies questioned were planning for growth in 2018 while 19% were expecting a downturn in their business.

Related: Brexit: why the UK economy hasn’t led to buyer’s remorse

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New Look faces fresh blow as insurer cuts cover for suppliers

The move is the latest setback for the struggling fashion retailer, whose credit rating was downgraded to junk status in December

New Look is coming under fresh pressure after an insurer stopped selling cover against insolvency to its suppliers, in the latest sign of difficulties for retailers amid a squeeze on consumers’ spending power.

The troubles for the high-street fashion chain come after a difficult Christmas for many leading retailers.

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