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East of England business confidence falls further in May

29 May East of England business confidence falls further in May

Business confidence in the East of England fell nine points during May to -38%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Companies in the East reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on- month at -32%. When taken alongside their views of the economy overall, this gives a headline confidence reading of -38%.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

In an illustration of the impact COVID-19 is having on the region’s business, the majority of firms continued to see demand negatively affected during May. 72% experienced a fall in demand for their products and services, an increase of six points on the month before. Meanwhile, 11% experienced an increase in demand, down five points on April’s reading (16%).

The number of firms in the region operating at less than 50% capacity increased 13 points to 39%. 14% said they were not operating at all, which is down 16 points on April and a sign that some businesses recommenced trading in May.

Of the 73% of businesses reporting disruption to their supply chain during May, a fifth (20%) expected the situation to improve within three months, while 9% expected it would take more than 12 months to return to normal levels.

David Atkinson, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Ongoing disruption and uncertainty is still weighing on the outlook of firms across the region. But it’s encouraging to see signs that many businesses are beginning to restart their operations. We will remain by the side of the region’s firms with support to help them emerge from this crisis.”