Business activity in Londons manufacturing and service sector gets a boost

Londons manufacturing and service sector today continued its growth for the 22nd month in a row, as new work flowing into the capital boosted business activity in May.

The London Natwest Business Activity Index, which measures the seasonal combined output of the manufacturing and services sectors, rose from 53.9 in April to 54.7 in May to its highest mark since last November.

The latest figure is indicative of a sharper rate of output expansion in London, as job creation was sustained and firms retained optimistic projections surrounding the outlook.

Participants in the latest Natwest purchasing managers index (PMI) report suggested that new business grew in line with stronger demand from domestic and external markets, as client bases rose over the month.

However London continues to fall behind growth in the rest of the UK, which IHS Markits PMI revealed last week is comfortably outperforming expectations.

Read more: Happy days: The UK's services sector outperformed expectations last month

“Looking at the PMI data for London in isolation, May shows a welcoming improvement in growth rates for new work and business activity,” said Natwest London and South East regional board member Stuart Johnstone.

“However, broadening the view to encompass the performances of other UK regions, the upturn in the capital remains lacklustre.

“New business gains failed to pick-up significant momentum, despite firms broadly keeping their selling prices unchanged and absorbing greater cost burdens themselves.”

According to Johnstone, the ongoing subdued performance, coupled with lingering uncertainty surrounding Brexit, weighed on optimism bringing the Business Activity Index to a ten-month low.

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