Business confidence in Wales fell 54 points during April to -52%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in Wales reported lower confidence in their individual business prospects month-on-month, at -39% when taken alongside their views of the economy overall, this gives a headline confidence reading of -52%.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
More than a quarter (28%) of businesses in Wales reported operating below 50% capacity, while almost a third (32%) reported operating above this level. More than third (34%) were not operating at all.
In an illustration of the impact of COVID-19 on the region’s business, three-quarters of firms (75%) reported seeing a fall in demand for their products and services. Just 5% saw demand increase.
Of the 68% of businesses reporting disruption to their supply chain during April, more than a fifth (22%) expected the situation to improve within six months, while 4% expected it would take more than 12 months to return to normal levels.
Amanda Dorel, regional director for Wales at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Welsh business confidence had been low prior to the current outbreak, so it is perhaps unsurprising that sentiment has dipped further than most areas of the UK. Core industries, particularly tourism, have been hit at a critical time of year and it is unclear to what extent they will be able to re-open as lockdown measures ease in the coming months.
“As such, we’re continuing to support businesses across the nation with swift action, providing £2 billion of arrangement fee-free funding to ensure they are able to weather the storm of coronavirus.”