Business confidence among Scottish firms 'remains steady'

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Confidence among businesses in Scotland has "remained steady" for a second month in a row, a survey suggests.

Economic optimism stood at 9% in August, an increase of seven points on the previous month, according to the Bank of Scotland's Business Barometer.

Companies reported lower confidence in their own business prospects, however, which fell six points to 25%.

The bank said a net balance of 6% of businesses in Scotland expect to hire more staff during the next year.

That was down seven points on July.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 UK businesses - 90 in Scotland - each month.

'Uncertain times'

Fraser Sime, Bank of Scotland's regional director for Scotland, said: "To see overall confidence holding firm demonstrates the continued resilience of Scottish businesses during uncertain times."

Across the UK, firms in the manufacturing sector remained most confident, but confidence of construction businesses fell sharply.

In Scotland, a net balance of 19% of businesses said they felt Brexit was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up one point on a month ago.

Meanwhile, a review of the manufacturing engineering sector has suggested a continuing positive quarter overall for the third time in 2018.

The report, by industry support body Scottish Engineering, said order intake and exports "remain positive at less than 5% above even".