More than a quarter of Scottish companies feel Brexit is having a negative impact on expectations for their business activity, according to new research.
The latest Bank of Scotland Business Barometer found 28% of firms felt this way in March, compared to 15% a month earlier.
Businesses reported lower confidence in their own prospects at 10%, having been 17% the previous month.
This figure combined with views toward the economy as a whole brought confidence level on the barometer to minus 3%, an eight-point drop month-on-month.
The Business Barometer surveyed 94 companies in Scotland between March 1 and 15.
Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “Domestic and global uncertainties are weighing on optimism levels among Scottish businesses at the moment.
“Despite the decrease in confidence, we are committed to supporting businesses’ growth ambitions.
“As part of this commitment, we recently pledged to lend up to £1.6 billion to support Scottish firms this year and look forward to seeing confidence increase again in the coming months.”
Overall confidence climbed six points to 10% across the UK as a whole.
Of the 1,200 businesses questioned by the bank’s barometer UK-wide, confidence in prospects rose to 20%.
Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The strengthening of confidence in the first half of this month provides some solace in light of recent pessimism, and there has been a slight improvement in firms’ expectations about the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU.
“However, levels remain below the long-term average and continue to show volatility as political negotiations continue.”
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