War, inflation and supply chain pressures create a challenging outlook

The RSM UK Middle Market Business Index (MMBI) has fallen dramatically – from 134.9 in the first quarter of 2022, to 120.9 in the second quarter. It’s the clearest signal yet of the damaging effects on the middle market from the war in Ukraine, surging inflation, struggling supply chains and weakening demand. 

However, at well above 100 the MMBI still suggests that many middle market businesses remain optimistic. The forward-looking aspects of the survey show that, while businesses are less optimistic than they were in Q1, most still expect key metrics, such as revenue and profits, to improve over the next six months.

 

Although we do not expect a recession, it will be little comfort if the economy significantly weakens. We think that the economy may only be 1% bigger in 2023 than it was in 2019, before the pandemic. That means the economy will probably be about 6% smaller in 2023 than if it had continued to grow at its ten-year average of around 2%.

Tom Pugh, RSM UK economist

Key takeaways

Q2 /2022

The deteriorating economic outlook is the middle market’s most pressing concern. 50% of firms said the economy worsened in Q2

Price pressures remain high, which is squeezing margins, but there are early signs that the labour market is cooling

One of the most important things that the middle market can do to thrive in this tough economic environment is invest in productivity-enhancing equipment

MMBI Q2 2022

RSM UK Middle Market Business Index

We asked our survey panel 20 questions related to their businesses, covering topics such as turnover, profits, capital expenditures, hiring, employee remuneration, prices paid, prices received and stock. We also asked them about the economy and its outlook, and credit availability and borrowing.
 
For ten of the questions, respondents are asked to report the change from the previous quarter. For the other ten, they are asked to state the likely direction of these same indicators six months ahead.
 
This graph charts the general mood of our respondents.
 
MMBI Q2 2022

RSM UK Middle Market Business Index

Continue discovering what makes up the MMBI

Q2 2022 MMBI Report

The report

The Q2 2022 MMBI provides a guide – not just to the current state of the middle market, but to what tactics firms in this key part of the wider economy might use to forge ahead.

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