UK PMIs: Reopening boom brings surge of activity for British businesses
A flurry of new orders swept through British businesses in April as the country eased Covid restrictions, according to a survey released today which pointed towards a rapid economic rebound.
The preliminary ‘‘flash’’ reading of the UK Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 60.0 in April from 56.4 in March.
This signalled its highest reading since November 2013 and exceeded economists’ predictions of a smaller rise to 58.2.
Economy ‘poised for recovery’
The survey added to signs that the UK economy, which shrank by almost 10 per cent last year, is well positioned for a speedy recovery amid fast vaccine rollouts.
Non-essential retailers in England reopened on 12 April, along with pub and restaurants operating outdoors.
From 17 May, more restrictions will be lifted to allow indoor hospitality and sporting events.
According to the PMI survey, both services and manufacturing firms increased staffing this month in preparation.
“Companies are reporting a surge in demand for both goods and services as the economy opens up from lockdowns and the encouraging vaccine rollout adds to a brighter outlook,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
“In more than 23 years of PMI history, we have only seen one spell of faster growth than this, recorded between August and November 2013.”
Morning of ‘strong economic data’
The PMI for the UK services sector rose to 60.1 in April from 56.3 in March, the highest reading since August 2014.
“By far the strongest momentum was seen among consumer services, driven by the reopening of some customer-facing parts of the economy in England and Wales,” IHS Markit said.
Britain’s momentum came after data unexpectedly showed the euro zone economy also picked up pace in April, despite slower vaccination progress.
Neil Birrell, chief investment officer of Premier Miton Diversified Funds, described Friday as a “morning for strong economic data releases.”
“The Eurozone PMIs were better than expectations and last month’s numbers, this was followed up by the UK PMIs all coming out above 60. Again, beating estimates and hard on the heels of very good retail sales announced earlier.
“The US PMIs are out later today and are likely to confirm that the global economy is rapidly expanding as we move out of lockdown.”