Lloyds Bank England & Wales Regional PMI: Widespread And Robust Improvement in Business Conditions During August
Business conditions continued to improve across England and Wales in August, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index. Strong new business gains fuelled a broad-based upturn in output and employment levels, while input cost inflation remained subdued across both the manufacturing and service sectors during the latest survey period.
Across the English regions, the seasonally adjusted index measuring overall business activity rose to 59.4 in August from 59.3 in July. This remained well above the 50.0 no-change value and was the steepest expansion in business activity for three months.
The North West was the strongest performing English region in August (61.2), followed by Yorkshire & Humber (60.8) and the North East (60.4). The East of England recorded its fastest rate of growth since the survey began in 1997, at 60.2.
In Wales the business activity index dropped to 58.5 in August, the lowest reading for three months and down from 60.0 in July. However, the latest reading still indicated a sharp rate of activity expansion that was much faster than the historic survey average (53.5).
Improving domestic economic conditions continued to drive strong new business gains across England and Wales in August. The latest survey revealed net job creation across the private sector in all areas except for the North East of England.
Relatively subdued cost inflation helped to support overall business conditions in August. Most areas of England and Wales saw input price inflation moderate since July. Weaker cost pressures and strong competition for new business also helped to moderate output price inflation in August.
Tim Hinton, Managing Director, SME & Mid Markets Banking, Lloyds Banking Group, said:
“Business conditions have continued to strengthen throughout the summer, and companies across England and Wales have been taking advantage of a more supportive economic climate, underpinned by improving demand.
“Job creation continued to grow robustly in August, highlighting increasing confidence among businesses that rising workloads and greater customer spending patterns will be sustained over the longer term.”