Published: 07:52, 06 February 2020
Business confidence across the South East rose during January, according to the latest survey.
The barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
It reveals business confidence in the region rose 10 points during the month to 16% - the same figures for economic optimism.
But the figures are still along way off the confidence elsewhere in the UK.
The national average for overall confidence rose 13 points to 23% and up 22 points to 24% for optimism in the economy.
In London, the overall average was 38%.
Businesses’ hiring intentions in the South East showed a net balance of 11% of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, up five points on December.
Phil Kirk, regional director for the South East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s great to see overall confidence in South East has risen, and that more businesses expect to increase their staff levels in 2020 – a positive boost for the region as we start the year.
“It’s clear that firms are keeping positive and showing great resilience."
Across the region, a net balance of 19% of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, compared to 17% last month.