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Demand stabilises but business confidence remains under pressure

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Business conditions in the region started to stabilise in June but confidence remains weak according to a ‘business barometer’ from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Almost three quarters (71 per cent) saw a fall in demand for their products and services; a slight improvement on the 72 per cent recorded in May. But only 3 per cent saw an increase in demand, down on the month before. Moreover business confidence in the East remained at -38 per cent in June, the lowest of any English region. However almost a third of firms in the East said they expect to be operating at more than 50 per cent of capacity by the end of June  A fifth of the region’s firms said it would take three months until they were back to operating at pre-Covid-19 levels.

David Atkinson, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Continuing disruption and uncertainty is clearly still weighing heavily on business leaders’ outlook in the East. There’ll be cause for greater optimism in the coming weeks as more non-essential shops open their doors for the first time in months - and with the anticipated re-opening of the hospitality industry in July.” Nationally, in June, the construction sector rebounded strongly.

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at the bank, added: “While the results suggest the economy may be starting to see some improvement, trading conditions remain difficult for most firms as the majority are still experiencing disruption to supply chains.”

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 July 2020 07:53 )