Yorkshire business confidence falls to near-record low

Yorkshire business confidence falls to near-record low

BUSINESS confidence in Yorkshire fell 12 points during May to a near-record low of -31 per cent according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Companies in the region reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month at -21 per cent.

When taken alongside their views of the economy overall, this gives a headline confidence reading of -31 per cent.

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, but with the picture improving month on month.

Sixty-nine per cent experienced a fall in demand for their products and services, down seven points on the month before. Meanwhile, 12 per cent experienced an increase in demand, up one point on April.

The number of firms in the region operating at less than 50 per cent capacity increased 15 points to 64 per cent. One in 10 (8 per cent) said they weren’t operating at all, down from 24 per cent in April.

Of the 73 per cent of businesses reporting disruption to their supply chain during May, 31 per cent expected the situation to improve within three months, while four per cent expected it would take more than 12 months to return to normal levels.

Paul Varley, regional director for Yorkshire & the Humber at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Yorkshire firms are gripped by the challenges COVID-19 is posing, and are increasingly concerned about their trading prospects and the wider economy. But there are encouraging signs here. Yorkshire had highest number of operational businesses of all regions in the UK during May, with the latest figures indicating that closed firms are beginning to reopen. As this happens, supply chain disruption will be curbed and demand stimulated for goods and services.

“We’re committed to helping firms across all sectors to weather this difficult period.”