London drives economic boom at start of 2015

Chris Papadopoullos
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UK COMPANIES are starting the year positively after a slow end to 2014, new survey data shows.

A purchasing managers’ index for the UK – a survey of private sector firms – ticked up to a score of 56.7 in January, according to figures released today by Lloyds Bank.

All nine English regions recorded growth, shown by the fact their PMIs scored above 50. London’s growth was the fastest with the PMI jumping to 59.8 from 56.7, reaching an eight-month high. London was followed by the West Midlands which registered a PMI score of 58.9.

A score above 50 signifies growth. In December the UK Lloyds PMI had dipped to 55.3, sparking fears that the UK’s recovery could be losing momentum. However, January’s rebound, along with rebounds in other PMI surveys of the manufacturing, construction and service sectors, should quell immediate growth fears.

The new data revealed a wide UK disparity. While the PMI for England rose to 57.2 from 55.9, in Scotland the PMI plummeted to a 49-month low.

The slowest expansion was in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber where PMIs were 54.1 and 54.2 respectively.

The survey scores were boosted mainly by strong growth in new orders. Other factors also contributed such as strong job creation and falling cost pressures resulting from lower oil prices and energy bills.

“Companies in England and Wales have started the year with renewed vigour, helped by strengthening demand patterns and falling cost pressures,” said Tim Hinton, a director at Lloyds Bank. “Growth rebounded from December’s recent low, with the upturn felt across both the manufacturing and service sectors. “