The lingering question raised here persistently these days is Whether the UK economy is gradually on the mend?. The simple answer is that there is wide agreement that the economy was showing firm signs of gradual improvement. Since the banking crisis started in 2008 the economy seemed to be in intensive care, with no end in sight of the long and deep recession. The great loss of confidence was aggravated by the rising UK gross national debt to the tune of 1.16 trillion pounds this year, according to estimates by the Treasury here. But in recent weeks, a glimmer of hope was sighted by economists. Optimism over future trading performance is at its highest point since May 2012, following five consecutive months of improvement, according to the latest figures. Output also stands at a 13-month high, driven by a significant improvement among manufacturers. Meanwhile, data released last week showed that British manufacturing recorded its strongest growth in more than two years. In addition, improved sentiment among companies in the services and manufacturing sectors will be given a further boost this week, with the International Monetary Fund expected to raise the UK growth forecast. A separate research published here by Lloyds, the leading insurer, also found a \"brightening economic picture\", with increases in business activity across all English regions in June producing the strongest growth across the country as a whole since January 2012. Today, a new batch of encouraging economic data confirmed that the housing market is recovering rapidly, with surveyors in their most bullish mood in more than a decade. The analysts believe that the housing market, which is considered a barometer of the economy here, is now turning the corner. Demand from aspiring homeowners increased at it its fastest rate since August 2009, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. In the meantime, other data revealed that British companies are expanding again, after a long period of shrinking activities. Latest figures also confirmed that Britain has avoided a double-dip recession as was widely feared. But the banking crisis is still overshadowing the economic climate as it proved to be far worse than previously estimated. On the other hand, the eurozone crisis left its deep scars here, although the UK is not a member of the single currency. More than half of the UK exports go to Europe and the crisis did have an adverse effect on that sector and the lack of any optimistic signs stifled early hopes of a swift economic recovery. But there is recently a sense of optimism based on sound assessment that the Euro will avoid collapse as confidence is gradually returning to the European markets, despite alarm signals in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Economists are also hopeful that the appointment of Mark Carney as the Governor of the UK central bank, the bank of England, would give a new momentum to the monetary policy here. Carney was the successful head of Canadas central bank and he is the first foreigner to run the 319-year old British banking institution. Carney is credited with helping Canada avoid the long recession that badly hit the US and most of Europe. Furthermore, there were wide cheers here after it was revealed last week that the UK economy grew by 0.3 percent in the first quarter, and economists predicted that growth accelerated in the second quarter.