The South West’s Business Prospects ‘Looking Positive’

Monday 10th June 2024

According to the latest NatWest South West PMI Business Activity Index economic growth in the region improved in May which heralded the strongest rate of expansion in the last 13 months.

This is clearly encouraging news and hopefully augers well for the future.

For the full story please read the article below which was issued by Insider News Media Ltd. today.

Roger Mundy, Managing Director, Beardsley Theobalds, 10th June 2024


South West output growth reaches 13-month high in May - NatWest

Economic growth in the South West improved in May, with receding price pressures supporting demand for goods and services, the latest regional PMI data from NatWest shows.

The headline NatWest South West PMI Business Activity Index - a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-on-month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors -  rose from 51.3 in April to 52.9 in May.

The survey said this highlighted the strongest rate of expansion for 13 months. 

Reportedly boosting growth was improved client confidence, new product releases and favourable demand conditions.

According to the research, there was another increase in new business placed with private sector companies in the South West during May, stretching the current sequence of expansion to six months.

The survey noted operating expenses of firms in the South West continued to rise sharply in May, though the rate of inflation eased from April's 14-month high and was below the post-pandemic average. 

It said that selling prices across the South West rose further in May, as businesses continued to share part of their additional cost burdens with clients.

Private sector companies in the South West also signalled a further decline in staff numbers midway through the second quarter, thereby stretching the current sequence of job shedding to three months. 

It added a further decline in outstanding business volumes at private sector companies in the South West continued to indicate spare capacity among local firms. 

The survey said South West firms remained confident towards the year-ahead outlook for output during May, with the overall level of positive sentiment slipping to a five-month low but remained above its long-run average. 

Paul Edwards, chair of the NatWest South West Regional Board, said: "The rise in South West output was broadly aligned with the national average, as local firms welcomed a further improvement in demand in May. The region was one of the UK's top performers with regards to new business gains, with only Northern Ireland seeing a stronger expansion. 

"Price pressures retreated, with charge inflation in particular constrained by competitive pressures and sales-boosting efforts. Although election uncertainty and the higher cost of living dampened confidence, companies remained strongly upbeat towards growth prospects."