BREXIT CONCERNS RATCHET HIGHER
- Optimism for the economy fell 5 points to -10%, the lowest since June 2016 when the survey was conducted in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.
- However, firms' assessment of their trading prospects for the year ahead rose by 5 points to 13%, while overall business confidence edged up 1 point to 2% - they both remained well below their respective historical long-term averages.
- The net balance for staffing levels rose 3 points to 4%, partially reversing last month's sharp fall.
- Firms' concerns about the Brexit impact on their activity intensified, with the net balance falling 7 points to a new low of -25%.
- The Midlands (East and West) and Yorkshire & the Humber were the most confident regions; the least confident were Scotland and Northern Ireland, followed by the South West and London.
- Firms in the manufacturing and services sectors reported the weakest overall business confidence and highest Brexit concerns