Scottish business confidence hits three-year high

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Staffing levels were reported to be increasing

Research by the Bank of Scotland suggests business confidence in Scotland is at its highest level in more than three year.

Its PMI survey found higher staffing levels and a return to growth in the private sector in January, compared with the previous month.

In the service sector, employers reported that successful tendering had contributed to higher order intakes.

Regional director Fraser Sime said optimism was at a 43-month high.

The overall PMI measure of manufacturing and services output was 50.3 in January. December's figure was 49.9.

A figure over 50 indicates a positive outlook.

Mr Sime said: "The upturn was led by manufacturers, while service providers signalled a fractional decline in output.

"Both new business inflows and employment increased in the Scottish private sector, fuelling stronger business confidence. The degree of optimism in the future rose to a 43-month high in January.

"With improved demand conditions, firms raised prices for an 18th straight month.

"That said, input cost inflation remained far greater than that of selling prices, indicating tighter profit margins."