Business confidence has hit a 20-year high, fuelling hopes of continued growth in the first half of 2014, according to the latest Business in Britain from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking
The twice yearly report, now in its 22nd year, collects the views of 1,500 UK businesses. It shows that firms are continuing to grow in confidence, driven by expectations of stronger profits, orders and sales over the next six months.
This latest report is an encouraging improvement in confidence as we start 2014 and we hope that it will lead to a sustainable UK recovery allowing British businesses to grow and prosper.
Sales, orders and profits likely to continue to rise
Prospects for the first half of 2014 continue to look positive with expectations for total sales, orders and profits in the next six months – the three key indicators of business confidence – all increasing.
Prospects for overseas trade on the up
Optimism about sales and orders for the next six months is also raising expectations for trade abroad.
Renewed hope for investment and recruitment
Firms are also becoming more hopeful about recruitment prospects with businesses expecting to hire more staff over the coming six months.
A spokesperson said: “Businesses are looking to export more, particularly to the Asia-Pacific region and they’re now also feeling bullish about Europe as it emerges from recession. Businesses appear to be planning to invest more in their infrastructure and staff, and we hope to see them develop and grow on the international stage.”
UK demand and cashflow are less of a concern
In light of growing hopes for exports, weak UK demand is no longer such a worry for businesses.
All company sizes set to do well
Business confidence increased particularly strongly for companies with a turnover between £1-£15m and for those turning over more than £15m.
Confidence continues to improve across all sectors
Business confidence rose in all sectors, in particular the retail and wholesale sector, for the third consecutive survey.
Business confidence improves across the UK
All regions are reporting an increase in business confidence, most notably those in the North and West Midlands.