Business confidence in the North West rose nine points to 4% during September, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the North West report higher confidence in their business prospects, which was up four points to 7%, and higher economic optimism, up 13 points from the previous month to 0%. Together, this gives a confidence reading of 4% - recovering the eight-point dip seen in August.
Across the UK, overall confidence rose one point to 2% as firms’ confidence in their own prospects climbed five points to 13%.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The North West has an incredibly resilient local economy and confidence is on the rise following the knock it took in August.
“While firms continue to face a number of strong headwinds, we’ll be by the side of businesses, helping them put plans in place and prepare for whatever the coming months will bring.
“As part of our mission to help Britain prosper, we’ve pledged to support businesses in the North West by providing £1.3 billion in funding this year.”
Across the region, a net balance of 29% of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up 11 points on a month ago.
Businesses in the East Midlands showed the most confidence, at 15%, ahead of the West Midlands and Yorkshire (both on 7%).
Those in Scotland were the least confident, with an overall confidence of -18%, 20 points below the national average.
Overall confidence remained the weakest in the manufacturing sector, where it fell by five points to -2%, and the services sector, which remained unchanged at -3%.
Overall business confidence in the retail sector rose by eight points to 14% but fell two points in the construction sector to 10%.
Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “While overall business confidence this month has remained broadly steady across the UK, optimism in the economy has fallen, and both remain significantly below the same period last year, and the historic average.
“This month we are also seeing firms’ concerns about leaving the EU intensify against the backdrop of ongoing economic uncertainty.”
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