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North East firms 'not so confident'

Date 23 Oct 2007
Author The Editor

Businesses in the North East believe they will face tougher trading conditions over the next year. Almost two-thirds expect markets to be more difficult than the past 12 months.

The figures come from Yorkshire Bank's Business Confidence Index, which also revealed that not a single business believes conditions will become easier. Despite this, 35% are remaining optimistic.

Nearly a quarter of small and medium-sized businesses in the region find their market easier than they did five years ago. This figure is far more positive than the national average of 13%. In the North East, 59 per cent of businesses also believe the UK is now a less attractive place to do business than five years ago.

Kath Myers, regional director of Yorkshire Bank, said: "It's hardly surprising that UK SMEs are expecting a bit more turbulence in their markets. For the past five years the UK has been both economically and politically stable, house prices continued to rise and interest rates were, up until the start of the year, at expected levels. However, since the start of the year we've seen rate rises, and the US sub-prime market collapse.

"It is easy to talk ourselves into recessionary conditions and while the perception is one of worsening conditions, the optimism of businesses indicate they are ready to meet challenges head on."

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