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British firms' risk appetite slips as election looms: Deloitte

Published on Jul 7, 2014 10:00 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Major British companies' risk appetite has edged lower over the past three months as elections in 2015 and the prospect of a referendum on leaving the European Union loom, a quarterly survey by accountants Deloitte showed on Monday.

Large companies are Britain's biggest private investors, and Deloitte's report raises a question mark over whether a recent rapid rebound in business investment may start to level off in the coming months.

Some 65 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) at British listed companies and subsidiaries of large foreign firms said it was a good time to take on more risk, down from a record high of 71 per cent in the first three months of 2014.

"The macroeconomic worries that have acted as a drag on corporate activity have eased ... but with the general election less than a year away, uncertainties around political and policy risk have moved centre stage," said Deloitte's chief economist Ian Stewart.

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