London business activity slows but solid figures across UK suggest steady growth in final quarter

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Views Across London As The UK Prepares To Trigger Article 50
London's economic growth slowed slightly in November according to the survey (Source: Getty)

Business activity in London slowed slightly in November, according to a closely followed survey, but expansion across every region of the UK suggests economic growth continued in the fourth quarter.

A regional breakdown of the widely followed purchasing managers’ index (PMI) to be published today by IHS Markit will show the reading for London falling to 55.6 points, down from 56.3 in October.

However, the PMI reading remains well above the 50 mark indicating overall expansion throughout the UK, led by the highest reading in over three years in the North West of England.

Read more: Business growth hits six-month high in London

Scott Barton, managing director of mid-markets at Lloyds, which commissioned the regional report, said: “Business activity was up in all areas of the UK in November, leaving an expectation that the economy is on course for a further steady expansion in the fourth quarter.”

The slip in the pace of the London expansion tallies with separate figures from the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) which show that business confidence in the capital remains in negative territory overall, in spite of growth in sales at home and abroad.

While the survey was completed before the deal between the UK and EU to finish the first phase of talks and start discussing trade, it nevertheless likely reflects significant wariness over the prospects for the financial sector, which still awaits a transitional deal.

Andrea Dunhill, ICAEW’s London director said: “Despite the low confidence, there are some signs of optimism, with domestic sales growth roughly on par with last year and export growth following an upward trend. If this continues, it is likely that businesses will be more enthusiastic about future prospects.”

Read more: UK economic growth picks up slightly in third quarter

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