People shop at Borough Market in London, Britain July 19, 2023. REUTERS/Anna Gordon/File photo
LONDON – British business confidence declined in September as optimism about the economic outlook faded, a survey showed on Friday, adding to signs of a slowdown in the economy.
The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer, which surveys around 1,200 companies across the economy, fell to 36 percent from August’s 18-month high of 41 percent.
While painting a less downbeat picture than other indicators like the S&P Global PMI, the decline in the Lloyds barometer fitted with other signs of a slowing economy – something the Bank of England highlighted as it left interest rates on hold last week.
Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said the BoE’s decision – taken after the survey was conducted – could underpin business confidence in the coming months.
“Although the economic environment remains uncertain with inflation and interest rate pressures playing their part, the recent decision by the Bank of England…is likely to help businesses feel more upbeat about the future,” he said.
More details about the recent performance of Britain’s economy are due at 0600 GMT when the Office for National Statistics publishes comprehensive growth data for the second quarter.
While Lloyds said its gauge of pricing expectations inched higher in September, hiring intentions cooled. The proportion of companies planning to raise salaries also fell, although remained around the average for the year.
The survey was conducted Sept. 1-15.