Confidence in the UK economy among companies has fallen to a two-year low, with businesses selling their goods abroad especially gloomy about prospects, according to new research. Lloyds Bank’s business barometer, which is based on a survey of more than 300 firms with an annual turnover of over £1m, found that the number of companies that were optimistic over economic prospects fell to 34% in October compared to 40% a month ago, At the same time, 49% said they more pessimistic about the economy compared to 33% in September. Industrial businesses reported the largest decline in confidence, with much lower falls for retail and services. Trevor Williams, chief economist at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, suggested that the economy could weaken in the final quarter. He said: “The fall in confidence is justified by the weakening in the global activity seen recently and also the heightened concerns regarding the eurozone debt crisis.” The latest survey comes as GDP figures out tomorrow are expected to show that the UK economy is slipping towards recession.