Yorkshire and the Humber businesses are more confident about the next six months than the rest of the UK, according to the latest Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank.
The report, now in its 24th year, gathers the views of 1,500 UK companies, predominantly small to medium sized businesses, and tracks the overall balance of opinion on a range of important performance and confidence measures, weighing up the percentage of firms that are positive in outlook against those that are negative.
Since the last report in July 2015, business confidence in Yorkshire and the Humber – an average of respondents’ expected sales, orders and profits over the next six months – has remained unchanged, staying at 46%. The index remains close to its recent highs and above its long-term national average of 24%.
More than a third of firms in Yorkshire and the Humber identified weaker UK demand as the main threat to their business over the next six months – a rise from 29% in July. This was followed by a rise in the proportion of businesses that cited weaker overseas demand as the biggest threat to their business – a rise from 13 to 15%.
Leigh Taylor, area director, SME Banking in Yorkshire and the North East, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Business confidence has remained unchanged as companies in Yorkshire see slowing demand as a big threat to their business in 2016, both at home and abroad.
“Global economic conditions are causing concern in the short term, with Sterling’s strength against the Euro causing issues for exporters. That said, the confidence level remains close to recent highs, especially on the back of three years of economic growth.
“Businesses in Yorkshire should continue to be prepared for interest rate rises and currency fluctuations, with the recent decision by the US Federal Reserve a reminder that this benign environment is not here to stay. Lloyds Bank is playing its part in helping Britain prosper by supporting businesses to start up, scale up, trade overseas and manage their risks. Businesses have good reasons to remain confident as the long-term health of the UK continues to improve.”