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Business confidence rises despite economic fears

Businesses remain confident of their prospects for the next six months, despite losing confidence in the global economy.

The latest Sage Business Index found that between February 2011 and September 2011, confidence in the global economy fell from 52.13 on the index, to 44.47, reflecting recent economic developments, which have resulted in global market turmoil.

Nevertheless, businesses remain resilient, as the confidence in business outlook increased from 56.48 to 57.88 in the same time frame.

The survey of 10,000 small and medium sized businesses across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia also found that 35 per cent of those surveyed had seen revenue increase in the last six months, while a further 34 per cent remained steady.

One of the biggest threats faced by businesses over the last six months was the rising cost of energy, fuel, and raw materials. But many businesses intend to invest in sales and marketing over coming months, as they strive to grow.

Commenting, Guy Berruyer, chief executive of The Sage Group said: "Tenacity and resilience are part of small and mid-sized businesses' DNA. Despite the wider economic circumstances they are focussing on what they need to do to continue growing.

"Even while we were carrying out the fieldwork for this edition of the Business Index there was significant change in financial markets and a lot of bad news about the global economy, leading, not surprisingly, to a drop in confidence. Nevertheless the respondents to our survey are showing their entrepreneurial spirit and plan to invest for the future."

On a less positive note, the survey found that the role of Government bureaucracy remains a hindrance for many businesses. Cumbersome legislation, and the Government's handling of economic challenges were the main reasons cited.

The news comes as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) calls on the UK Government to offer more support to small businesses.