South East business confidence falls in June

Business confidence in the South East fell 22 points during June to 35%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.  

Companies in the South East reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, down 24 points at 38%. When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, down 20 points to 32%, this gives a headline confidence reading of 35% (vs. 57% in April). 

Looking ahead to the next six months, South East businesses identified their top target areas for growth as investing in their teams (for example, through training (37%)), entering new markets (36%) and evolving their offering (for example, by introducing new products or services) (32%).  

Overall UK business confidence fell nine points in June to a net balance of 41%. However, this was consistent with levels seen during Q1 2024, before the sharp rise in May, and remained above the long-term average (28%).   

While businesses reported lower confidence in both their own trading prospects, down 10 points to 44%, and the economy, down seven points to 39%, both remained robust.   

Yorkshire and the Humber (48%) was the most confident UK nation or region in June, closely followed by the North East of England (47%) and the East Midlands (46%).  

Results across the sectors were mixed in June as three of the four sectors saw a decline in trading prospects. Construction fell 16 points to 42% and there were other notable decreases in retail (down 14 points to 35%) and services (down 11 points to 46%). Manufacturing, however, bucked this trend, increasing by two points to 51%. 

Becci Wicks, regional director for the South East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “While overall confidence has dropped, it is great to see South East businesses are still investing to drive growth and build resilience – from entering new markets to team training. 

“We’ll continue to be by the side of the region’s firms with our insight and funding to support their growth plans, as well as specialist products like invoice finance and asset-based lending to help them free up cash from within their operations to power future investments.” 

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