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Business confidence increases in UK

Christian Fernsby |
Overall business confidence increased 4 points to 6% in October, according to the latest findings from the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Business Barometer.

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While still below the long-term average of 24%, it was slightly higher than the previous three months where business confidence averaged 5%.

Optimism in the economy also saw an improvement in October, increasing 8 points to a three-month high of -2% having fallen last month to its lowest levels since June 2016.

Firms’ assessment of their trading prospects also rose for a second consecutive month, albeit marginally, 1 point to 14%.

Companies’ concerns about the UK leaving the EU eased this month as the Barometer showed a seven point increase to -18% (see chart 2).

37% of businesses (down from 43%) continue to expect a negative impact from leaving the EU, while 19% (up from 18%) believe leaving the EU will have a positive impact.

In October, the number of firms expecting to increase their employee numbers in the coming year fell 1 point to 3%, with more than a quarter of businesses (27%) expecting to increase employment, while those anticipating a reduction remains unchanged at 24%.

There has been a step down in hiring intentions in recent months, which averaged 12% in the first half of the year.

This has fallen to an average of 3% in the last three months.

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