Better outlook for companies

Ben Southwood
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BUSINESS confidence is on the up in July, after dipping sharply into January, according to a report from Lloyds TSB today.

The balance of confidence – positive responses minus negative responses – grew to 12 per cent in July, compared to just eight per cent in January. But aside from January 2012, the figure has not fallen below 12 per cent since July 2009, when it was at minus three per cent. “It is encouraging, after a tough first half, to see that small and medium enterprises are exhibiting a lift in confidence,” said Lloyds commercial managing director David Oldfield.

“Businesses have been on a rollercoaster ride since the beginning of the financial crisis so it is good to see that confidence is beginning to rise,” added Lloyds economist Trevor Williams.

This overall confidence level comes from an average of net balances over sales, orders and profits, taken from canvassing 1800 UK businesses twice yearly. Orders and sales came out robustly positive, at 19 per cent and 20 per cent, but firms were worried about profits with two per cent fewer responses indicating confidence.