Business confidence in Wales has declined sharply in the last quarter, according to a survey by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and consultants Grant Thornton.
The ICAEW/Grant Thornton Business Confidence Monitor is now in negative territory, following the downward trend of previous quarters.
According to the latest survey, concerns affecting businesses in the region are likely to be headed by the ongoing steel crisis as well as wider uncertainties such as the EU referendum.
A business confidence score of -4.5 was recorded this quarter, a sharp decline from +27.4 recorded 12 months ag
Martin Warren, ICAEW Wales Director said: “One of the major issues likely to be affecting business confidence in Wales is the threat of steel plant closures.
“Although other worries may include doubts over the funding of the Circuit of Wales. Furthermore, wider uncertainties such as the upcoming EU referendum are likely to be contributing to a negative business sentiment.
“Businesses are certainly exercising some caution, as uncertainty is seeping into investment decisions. The next quarter could be decisive in terms of a return to a trend for growth and the economy moving forward.”
Alistair Wardell, Lead Partner at Grant Thornton Cardiff said: “The latest survey results will be uncomfortable reading for many businesses and issues such as the EU referendum may potentially stall business boards from continuing and developing their future planning.
“For Wales to play an active role in contributing to this, we all need to consider what drives a vibrant economy, so we can capitalise on our skills, passion and heritage. Despite the outcome of the report and the seemingly fragile nature of the economy, Wales has many role models of companies raising their game and implementing strategies for growth.”