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Exporters hope for growth

Small firms are predicting rising sales and profits amid an increase in confidence fuelled by hopes of growing exports, according to a report by Lloyds TSB Commercial.

The bank said its survey of 2,300 companies showed renewed optimism despite the continuing spectre of weak domestic demand.

Business confidence was at its highest level since 2007, driven by the promise of growing exports as a result of a "rebound" in world demand and a sustained fall in the pound.

The biggest worry among smaller firms was falling domestic demand, with more than half saying fragile domestic markets were their greatest concern.