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‘Huge rebound’ in business confidence in South West – Lloyds

Business confidence in the South West rose 26 points during October to 47 per cent, the highest level so far this year, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Last month, the Business Barometer reached its lowest level in six months, and this month’s figures are being heralded as a ‘huge rebound’ in business confidence.

Companies in the South West reported higher confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, up 25 points at 51 per cent. When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, up 27 points to 43 per cent, this gives a headline confidence reading of 47 per cent.

South West businesses identified their top target areas for growth in the next six months as investing in their teams (49 per cent), evolving their products and services (33 per cent), and introducing new technology (28 per cent).

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

A net balance of 29 per cent of businesses in the region expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up 19 points on last month.

Amanda Dorel, regional director for the South West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s brilliant to see the region’s confidence reaching a record level for 2023, with so many firms expecting trading to increase in the coming months.

“As businesses enter the final quarter of the year, it’s important they engage with their customer base early to capitalise on any eager shoppers looking to take advantage of tapering inflation.

“Those who keep a close eye on margins and manage working capital effectively will enter the Christmas trading period ahead of the pack.”

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