What does 2018 have in store for core UK markets?

The UK’s economic growth took a hit in 2017, with Brexit casting a major shadow of doubt over how the nation would fare into the future. Despite this uncertainty, many industries continued to thrive, with 2018 set to be a significant year for some of the biggest contributors to the overall marketplace. Take a look at what the new year has in store for the following core sectors:

Financial services

Technology will continue to disrupt the finance industry, providing new alternatives to old ways of doing things. Everything from big data – and the information it reveals about consumer patterns and behaviour – to Robotic Process Automation will play a part in how the industry is formed this year, with advanced data analytics techniques by way of FinTech expected to continue to dominate the landscape. We can also expect to see blockchain become less of a theoretical tool and more of a reality.

There are a considerable number of financial events taking place in 2018, with the GDPR’s May arrival set to play a major part in how banks and other financial institutions handle consumer data. According to this Marks Sattin outlook, this will lead to an increased focus on data privacy and cyber security, with Brexit likely to continue to dominate discussions throughout the year.

Construction

While the latter part of 2017 saw the construction industry return to some kind of form, a Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI survey reveals construction firms have a “subdued degree of optimism” regarding their business outlook for the coming year. With concern over Brexit and the wider economy, the construction industry’s moderate expansion in late 2017 is tempered by the cautious optimism many within the sector feel about coming prospects. However, the Conservative pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year in the budget and the £10bn contribution to the help-to-buy loan scheme may see confidence return to the sector this year.

Oil and gas

It’s predicted that oil and gas will continue to slowly progress this year, with a sharp rise in confidence already reported by Rigzone. This is in stark contrast to the low levels of confidence exhibited just a year ago. Moody’s 2018 outlook reports stability for integrated oil and gas companies over the next 12-18 months, while prolonged oversupply is tipped to constrain oil prices for at least the next year. However, most companies expect to maintain or increase both capital spending and headcount, indicating some growth will return to this sector.

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