These are figures taken from the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Business Barometer, which surveyed businesses between 1st – 15th October.
According to the report, this drop in confidence is mainly due to weaker optimism about the wider economy, with the net balance dropping by thirteen points to -23% and trading prospects falling by one percentage point to -13%.
The regional lockdown restrictions were thought to have had a large impact, with firms’ assessment of their own business prospects falling marginally by one point to -13%, sitting at a historically weak level. In addition, business’ evaluation of their hiring intentions also decreased by two percentage points to -18%, well below pre-pandemic levels of 15%.
The impact of the newly enforced lockdown throughout England may reveal further troubling figures by the end of this month.
Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commented, “The resurgence in coronavirus cases and the reintroduction of local lockdown measures saw overall business confidence fall back sharply this month. Added to that are ongoing uncertainties regarding new trading arrangements with the EU in January.
“All of this makes the economic outlook uncertain and the period ahead will be pivotal for businesses as they navigate the winter months and continue to adapt to the evolving landscape.”
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