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Business confidence slightly decreases from 35% to 33%.

London: Business confidence - an average of business prospects and economic optimism - in February has slightly decreased from 35% to 33%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

It remains above the long-term average of 32%. Overall confidence in the first two months of the year is higher than in Q4 2017 and is driven by a rise in economic optimism. Levels of economic optimism remain consistent with last month's results at 31%, having jumped up from 8% in December, which is well above the long term average of 19%.

Firms' confidence in their own business prospects dipped further this month from 39% to 35% and remains below the long-term average of 44%. Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commented: "Firms continue to remain resilient as is demonstrated by the stable levels in business confidence and the continuation of strong economic optimism. The survey is consistent with slightly stronger growth in GDP in the first quarter of 2018 than was seen in the last quarter of 2017."

The rise in economic optimism since December - which has been maintained this month - seems to be related, in part, to improved sentiment regarding firm's assessment of the impact following the UK-EU agreement on the first stage of negotiations in December. Companies are evenly balanced on the impact of Brexit, that contrasts with the final quarter of last year when there was a negative net balance of -11%.

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Publication:Daily the Pak Banker (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 7, 2018
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