Pace of growth slows in the East Mids
Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire's economy took a hit in the third quarter as a result of a fall in sales at home and abroad, according to the chamber's latest survey.
Despite the fast-paced growth recorded in the past five quarters slowing in the period, businesses were still confident about their prospects in the months ahead.
The chamber's Quarterly Economic Survey tracks business performance across a range of economic indicators, such as sales and orders, staffing levels and business confidence levels, to produce a quarterly state of the economy index.
Between July and September, the index fell from its seven-year high of 411 to 379 – slightly higher than where it was in the fourth quarter of 2013 (368).
In the main, this was down to a 6 per cent decrease in the number of firms reporting increased UK sales (51 per cent) and a 9 per cent fall in those reporting higher export sales (31 per cent).
However, business confidence levels remained high, with 75 per cent of respondents expecting turnover to increase over the next 12 months and 55 per cent forecasting a rise in profits.
Chamber chief executive George Cowcher said: "Over the past three months, anecdotal evidence from businesses the Chamber has been working with has suggested that the fast-paced growth secured over the previous five quarters started to slow in Q3 and the findings from this latest survey back that up.
"However, it should be remembered that the local economy still registered a stronger performance than it did in the same period 12 months ago.
"Some of the slowdown will be related to seasonal patterns, such as manufacturers slowing down over the summer and retailers seeing margins cut by competitive sales periods.
"The slowdown strengthens arguments to keep interest rates on hold for a while longer. There are also some potential structural problems this survey has highlighted for a number of quarters now."