Levels of optimism are gradually improving among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a study has suggested.
In a study conducted by Western Union Business Solutions, 56 per cent of SMB leaders expressed confidence in the current UK economic climate.
This represents an increase of two percentage points on the 54 per cent who were optimistic during the first quarter of 2013.
Some 20 per cent of SMBs said they thought the economy has improved in the last six months, compared to just nine per cent who said the same in Q1 2013.
And 83 per cent of these companies believe the recent improvement is sustainable, meaning conditions for businesses operating in the UK should gradually improve.
Across the entire sample, more than four-fifths (86 per cent) offered the view that the general business environment will stay the same or improve in the coming months.
However, the global economy remained a concern for 76 per cent - particularly those who trade overseas.
SMB exporters expressed concerns about cheap competition (63 per cent) and currency volatility (59 per cent) in particular.
Jonathan Rees, UK regional divisional director for Western Union Business Solutions, said that SMBs - whilst welcoming improving economic conditions - are proving slower in embracing the large-scale optimism expressed by bigger businesses in recent weeks.
"It is clear that we are still a long way from a full recovery - small business owners understand that more time is needed after six spluttering years of economic turmoil," he stated.
“Whilst good weather and sporting success have had an impact on consumer confidence, businesses are by no means out of the woods yet. SMBs will be wise to do what they can to mitigate against the increased volatility in the currency markets."
Mr Rees claimed that the UK's economic recovery is still fragile, and businesses cannot afford to get too complacent.
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Posted by Dan Smith