Lloyds finds UK business confidence at 22-year high

Latest stats from bi-annual Business in Britain report suggests rise in orders, sales and profits

UK business confidence is at a “record” 22 year high, according to the latest bi-annual Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank for July 2014.

The study, which surveys 1,500 business owners every six months to track the “overall balance of economic opinion”, recorded the highest levels of confidence since 1992, reaching a peak of 53%, with a rise in the net balance of sales, orders and profits.

Over the last six months, sales were found to have increased most in the construction and retail & wholesale sectors with “robust levels of activity”; rising to 38% and 41% respectively. The net balance of sales was highest for the hospitality and leisure sector with a 47% increase.

On a regional level, recent sales were highest in the West Midlands and the South West at 53% and 47%, with the lowest number of sales in Wales and the North West.

UK exports activity was also found to be growing with the total number of exports up by 38%; a 5% increase on January, with shipments to Europe up by 21%.

Business optimism also extended to employment levels with 22% of those surveyed planning to recruit new staff members over the next six months, a “record” figure up by 6% on January 2014.

Lloyds Bank small and medium enterprise and mid markets managing director, Tim Hinton, commented on the findings:

“The survey indicates that business optimism about sales, incoming orders, exports and profits has continued to rise over the last six months with some indicators climbing to record highs. These gains […] chime with a broader pick-up in economic activity.

“These recent improvements also help explain an accompanying rise in confidence for the second half of 2014. In particular businesses anticipate further strong gains in demand and profits, which underpin their plans to boost headcounts.”

Read the full Business in Britain report here.

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