LONDON (Reuters) – Business leaders' confidence in Britain's economy has fallen to its lowest level this year, reflecting the impact of the uncertainty over Britain's agreement with the European Union to pull out of the bloc, a poll released today said. With less than eight months left before Britain leaves the European Union, the government has yet to agree with Brussels on the terms of its departure and has stepped up planning for a possible lack of formal agreement. A survey by the Employers 'Institute of Employers' Association of 750 business leaders found that after general economic conditions, trade with the EU was the most worrying issue. Asked about their optimism about the broader economy over the next 12 months, the number of pessimists was higher than the number of optimists, resulting in a confidence level of -16%.
This compares to a record confidence level of -11% in June, down from a positive 3% in April. The Institute of Managers said 44 percent cited ambiguities about the trade situation with the EU, which had a negative impact on their companies. "Despite the cautious optimism that emerged among the business sector earlier this year, there seems to have been some momentum," said Tej Parekh, senior economist at the Institute of Managers in a statement. "We are on our way back to the levels of pessimism we saw before progress In the first phase of the EU withdrawal talks. "The poll was conducted from July 11 to 26.