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Economics

NatWest UK regional PMI report for Sept 2023

Business activity falls across all regions except London in September.

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Key findings

  • 11 out of 12 regions and nations see output fall at end of third quarter
  • Employment growth confined to just Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • Business cost pressures ease universally

The latest NatWest Regional PMI® survey indicated a near-universal decline in business activity across the UK in September, with only London eking out growth. Labour market trends also worsened as employment fell in all areas except Northern Ireland and Scotland. More positively, there was a broad-based easing of cost pressures faced by businesses. The PMI Business Activity Index is the first fact-based indicator of regional economic health published each month, tracking the monthly change in the output of goods and services across the private sector. A reading above 50 signals growth, and the further above the 50 level the faster the expansion signalled. Business activity fell across all but one of the 12 monitored UK regions and nations at the end of the third quarter, the exception being London. Furthermore, output in the capital increased at an accelerated rate (index at 52.4). The North East (43.7) recorded the sharpest drop in business, its quickest for more than a year, followed by neighbouring Yorkshire & Humber (44.5).

 

Sebastian Burnside, NatWest Chief Economist, commented:

"September's PMI results paint a rather gloomy picture of the health of the UK's regional economies, with business activity falling almost universally during the month. "London is an outlier having recorded a further increase in output at the end of the third quarter, driven by resilient demand across the capital. "But as a general rule, there's been less and less pressure on business capacity in recent months due to a slowdown in demand, so it isn't a shock to see employment start to fall across most areas. "Latest data on firms' expectations for future activity were a little more encouraging, with confidence even ticking up in a small majority of the regions and nations covered by the survey. "Easing cost pressures are a reason for optimism. Rates of increase in firms' input prices slowed across the board in September, which should feed through to lower inflation generally in the months ahead."

 

Please see the regional reports in full:

 

UK National (PDF, 245KB)

North East (PDF, 365KB)

North West (PDF, 354KB)

Yorkshire and the Humber (PDF, 3,287KB)

East Midlands (PDF, 394KB)

West Midlands (PDF, 371KB)

East of England (PDF, 377KB)

London (PDF, 343KB)

South East (PDF, 2,834KB)

South West (PDF, 376KB)

Scotland (PDF, 353KB)

Wales (PDF, 371 KB)

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of the NatWest Group Economics Department, as of this date and are subject to change without notice.

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