Business confidence in London drops but remains in the black

Business confidence in London drops but remains in the black

Business confidence in London fell 14 points to 8 percent in December, the lowest in the city in more than 12 months, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Businesses in the capital reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, down 21 points to 16 percent. This, combined with their optimism about the economy, which has fallen six points to 1 percent, gives an overall confidence score of 8 percent.

London businesses identified their top target areas for growth over the next six months as diversifying into new markets (36%), evolving their offering (30%) and investing in sustainability (30%). The Business Barometer, which surveys 1,200 businesses monthly, provides early signals on regional and national economic trends in the UK.

A net balance of 8% of companies in the region expect to increase their headcount over the next year, down eight points from last month.

UK general business confidence rose seven points to 17 percent in December. The proportion of companies positive about the broader economy rose 10 points month-on-month to 8 percent, while their assessment of their own future trade prospects rose two points to 27 percent.

Businesses also remained upbeat on job creation, with 16 percent of businesses planning to hire more staff over the next 12 months, up two points from November.

All UK regions and nations reported a positive confidence score in December for the first time since July, with eight out of 11 reporting a monthly increase in confidence. Of these, the Northwest (up 31 points to 40 percent), the Northeast (up 24 points to 34 percent) and the Southeast (up 23 points to 14 percent) posted the largest monthly gains, now the Northwest the most optimistic overall.

Becci Wicks, Regional Director for London at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Confidence among the capital’s businesses has taken a hit but it remains in the black as we close out an otherwise outstanding 2022 for businesses battling unrelenting headwinds have fought .

Manufacturing reversed a six-month trend of falling confidence, rising nine points to 13 percent. Confidence in construction and services also rose nine points to 29 percent and 18 percent, respectively. However, retail confidence slipped slightly by two points to 13 percent.

Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “While businesses are hopeful for a more prosperous 2023, inflation and the risk of an economic downturn remain the top concerns for businesses, with rising costs being evidenced by the number become companies that anticipate price increases.

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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