Business confidence increases in the North East

Business confidence increased slightly in the North East as economic uncertainty remained the biggest threat to firms, according to the latest Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank.

The report’s confidence index – an average of respondents’ expected sales, orders and profits over the next six months-rose slightly to 22 per cent, up from 21 per cent, the survey’s score in September 2016.

North East firms are the most optimistic in the country, soaring about the capital and overtaking Yorkshire and Humber and Wales.

*Key stats*:

  • North East overtakes Yorkshire and Humber and Wales to become most optimistic region in the UK
  • Businesses cite economic uncertainty as the biggest threat for the first half of 2017, followed by weaker UK demand and political uncertainty
  • Half (45 per cent) of exporters plan to increase exports as they target the Americas and Europe

Leigh Taylor, regional director for SMEs in the North East, from Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Business confidence in the North East has increased since September, a sign that despite political and economic uncertainty we are entering 2017 with optimism.

“While this year may present more challenges for businesses, firms in the North East will want to start planning in earnest once details around the UK’s exit from the EU became clearer.”

The most commonly identified threat cited by North East firms in the next six months was economic uncertainty (28 per cent), followed by weaker UK demand and political uncertainty (15 per cent) as firms wait for further details of Britain’s EU exit.

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