Ever-growing cash

UK firms are still reluctant to invest. Official figures next week are likely to show that business investment more or less flatlined in the fourth quarter. This continues a long-term trend; the volume of business investment has risen by an average of only 1.2 per cent per year over the past 16 years. Instead, firms have been piling up cash: in the past 16 years, their sterling bank deposits have risen 4.2 per cent per year in real terms.

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