BUSINESS confidence among Yorkshire firms has plummeted in a matter of weeks, a survey said today.
Figures from the Institute of Chartered Accountants said sentiment about the economy among the region’s firms was at its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2005 – a dramatic turnaround from the picture three months ago.
Nationally, confidence is at its lowest ebb since 2003 – driven by concerns about the outlook for the housing market and the financial sector. In addition, confidence in other sectors such as transport, retail and wholesale, hotels and catering contributed to the slump in Yorkshire.
Chris Manners, regional director for the institute in Yorkshire, said 2008 would be a tough year for many firms, but said: “While Yorkshire has the greatest balance of firms reporting that expansion into new areas is more of a challenge to business performance than it was a year ago, local businesses are more likely to report their access to capital is holding up.”
Mr Manners said turnover and gross profits were predicted to continue to rise through 2008 – but at a slower rate than seen through 2007.
Export sales were likely to falter in light of concerns about the outlook for the US and Europe.