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Businesses confidence dropped in February, Lloyds survey finds

Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Picture: Bernard Pound

Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Picture: Bernard Pound

Bernard Pound

Confidence among businesses in the East of England fell in February despite more feeling optimistic about the economy.

The latest Business Barometer report from Lloyds Bank’s commercial banking arm found companies in the region reporting lower confidence in their business prospects, but higher economic optimism.

This led to an overall confidence balance among firms of 26% – down from 30% in January.

A net balance of 21% of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, down seven points on last month.

Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Although overall confidence in the region has dipped slightly since January, with many local firms expecting a decrease in business activity over the next few months, it is positive to hear that economic optimism is up.”

On Brexit the region remains fairly balanced. A net balance of just 1% of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the EU was having a positive impact on their expectations for business activity, unchanged from a month ago.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

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