UK business confidence bounces back

Financial services provider Lloyds Banking Group published the Lloyds Bank Business Barometer for March 2016 on Thursday, which reveals improved business confidence in the UK.

According to the latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer, UK business confidence rebounded by 15 points to 43% in March this year, a significant increase from the two-year low in the previous month. The net balance of firms that indicated an improvement in economic prospects reached a three-month high of almost 40%, an increase of 24 points from February 2016.

Also, nearly 40% of companies anticipate that their staff levels will increase in the coming year.

Trading expectation also improved to over 45% and a strong rise in confidence was reported in both the consumer services and business & other services sectors. However, recent trends in the industrial sector were reversed with confidence in this area declining by 13 points.

Businesses across all UK regions reported large increases in business sentiment for March this year and these gains pushed their net balances to well above respective historical averages. The Midlands showed the largest improvement of 25 points to 36%, followed by the North, which improved 15 points to 50%, then the South, with an improvement of 10 points to 43%. 

Senior economist for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, Hann-Ju Ho, stated: “As concerns about economic risks declined this month we saw business confidence return to levels seen at the turn of the year. Encouragingly, our results for the quarter suggest that the UK economy may have expanded by 0.4-0.5% since the start of of 2016, similar to the average pace of growth in the second half of last year”.