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Business confidence slides downward

Business confidence is sliding back to levels not seen since the depths of the financial crisis, according to a new report by Lloyds Bank.

Its "business barometer", based on a survey of more than 300 firms with annual turnover over £1m, showed optimism ebbing, most especially among businesses selling their goods abroad.

Trevor Williams, chief economist at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, said that, after a brief uptick in September, confidence was back on the downward trajectory that begun in early summer.