It was good to hear that overall business confidence in Scotland is on the rise, according to a new report. 

The Business Barometer from Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking for June found that companies in Scotland report confidence in their business prospects at 29% and economic optimism at 18%.

Together, this gives an overall confidence of 24%, which is nine points above last month’s figure of 15%.

Longer term, the underlying trend in Scotland during 2018 shows businesses’ confidence growing slowly despite the fact that they are becoming less optimistic about the state of the UK economy overall.

Overall confidence in the second quarter of 2018 stands at 23% per cent, which is two points higher than during the first quarter, while economic optimism has fallen four points to 13%.

Across the UK as a whole, however, overall confidence has fallen six points to 29% since May, as firms’ optimism about the economy dipped, weighing down confidence in their own business prospects.

“It’s encouraging to see the gradual rise in confidence across the country leading to a boost to recruitment plans throughout Scotland,” commented Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking.

“The challenge we face now is to keep these levels steady and support the rise in economic optimism to ensure businesses reach their full growth potential,” he added.

Across Scotland, a net balance of 16% of businesses say they feel that the UK’s exit from the European Union is having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, down nine points on a month ago.

Meanwhile, a net balance of 46% of Scottish companies expect the Bank of England to increase interest rates this year, with the average firm indicating that raising rates to one per cent would have a significant negative impact on their business.

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