Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Only slight rise for Yorkshire business confidence despite economy re-opening

The re-opening of the local economy has failed to lift business confidence in Yorkshire, recent figures show.

According to latest ‘Business Barometer’ from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, business confidence in Yorkshire & the Humber rose two points during July to -21%.

Companies’ confidence in their own business prospects was unchanged month-on-month at -22.  When taken alongside their views of the economy overall, this gives a headline confidence reading of -21%.

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

When asked about the impact COVID-19 was having on their business, the majority of firms continued to see demand negatively affected during July, but with the picture slightly worsening month-on-month.

67% experienced a fall in demand for their products and services, up four points on the month before. Meanwhile, just 12% experienced an increase in demand, down two points on June.

Almost two in five (37%) Yorkshire firms surveyed said they weren’t currently using the job retention scheme.

When asked about social distancing measures, three in five (60%) businesses said they could, in theory, operate at full capacity while remaining COVID-secure, although 29% said they couldn’t operate fully within the rules.

With 56% of Yorkshire businesses reporting disruption to their supply chain during July, 42% expected the situation to improve within six months, with no firms expecting it to take longer than 12 months.

“It’s still too early for the reopening of sectors like retail and hospitality to have had a noticeable impact on the Yorkshire economy and along with it, business confidence,” said Paul Varley, Regional Director for Yorkshire & the Humber at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

“Firms across the board remain challenged by supply chain disruption, headcount worries and weakened demand – dampening their overall outlook.

“There’s a long way to go on the road to recovery, but one encouraging sign is that the North East has edged very close to a return to optimism this month.

“As businesses continue to re-open and pick up pace post-lockdown, we can hope for a similar picture to emerge here in Yorkshire too.”

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