North West business confidence falls in March

Business confidence falls across the North West, new data show, but firms remain optimistic about their own prospects. Tony McDonough reports

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North West business confidence has fallen in March, says Llloyds


Business confidence in the North West dipped six points to 43% in March, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Although firms’ optimism in their own prospects rose one point to 55%, their optimism in the wider economy fell 12 points to 31% Overall UK confidence held steady at 42% in March – the same as in February.

Companies in the North West reported higher confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, up one point to 55%.

Looking ahead to the next six months, North West businesses identified their top target areas for growth as entering new markets.

This includes diversifying into adjacent markets or exporting to new ones (37%), evolving their offering, including by introducing new products or services (32%) and introducing new technology, such as automation or AI (32%).

Chris Whittle, area director in the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:“It’s hugely encouraging to see that even though businesses are less optimistic about the economy, their confidence in their own prospects has only strengthened.

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“This reflects the hard work North West firms have put in to build resilience and successfully adapt to a fast-moving environment.

The North West is a region marked by its ambition. As firms target further growth, we’ll continue to be by their side with our support – whether that’s helping carry out their plans to enter new markets, or to capitalise on the opportunity of new technologies.” 

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