Growth in London’s business activity at 11-month high


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December saw the fastest period of growth in London’s business activity since January last year, according to a report by Lloyds Bank.

London’s showing on the Lloyds Bank purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was up 56.1 points in December, from 55.3 in November.

Despite the strong figures, London was behind most other UK regions for business activity growth in the same period, falling below the neighbouring south east region and below the UK average. Demand for goods and services within the capital outpaced other UK regions, however, representing a significant factor for the growth of business activity, according to Lloyds.

Although employment slowed down from November onwards, Q4 proved to be the strongest quarter of growth in business activity for the city since the same period in 2015. Lloyds attributed part of this activity to new product launches and “improved marketing campaigns”.

Paul Evans, regional director for London at Lloyds bank commercial banking, said: “a substantial rise in new work is an encouraging sign of investment and confidence. The private sector will be hoping this can sustain growth across the next year”.

Purchasing managers indices use information from both manufacturers and services about the volume of goods and services produced in once month, versus the month before.

Lloyds also noted that the weakness of sterling, and a rise in the price of fuel, led to a rise in the input costs for the businesses they surveyed, affecting areas such as raw materials and rent.

December saw petrol and diesel prices reach their highest point since July 2015, according to the RAC. The 3p per litre rise left unleaded petrol at 117.23p per litre, while diesel cost around 119.63p per litre at the end of December. “In response, the capital’s firms increased their prices, however at the slowest rate out of all the monitored UK regions”, according to the Lloyds report.