NatWest UK regional PMI report for January 2024

Positive start to the year for most parts of the UK as growth broadens out

Key findings

  • Output rises in ten out 12 monitored regions and nations in January
  • Labour market trends show general signs of improvement
  • Price pressures easing unevenly


Business confidence also picked up in most places. Rates of increase in business costs and output prices meanwhile eased on average in January, although inflationary pressures remained strong in several parts of the UK.             

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. 

Ten of the 12 monitored UK regions and nations saw a rise in business activity in January. London (index at 58.3) once again recorded the strongest growth, followed by the West Midlands (53.1). Output fell further in the North East (47.3), but the rate of contraction slowed notably to the weakest since last August. Activity in Wales (49.9) was broadly unchanged, following a four-month sequence of decline.

Sebastian Burnside, NatWest Chief Economist, commented:

"Regional PMI data showed a positive end to 2023, but an even better start to the new year. We saw the broadest expansion in business activity since May last year, as renewed increases in the North West of England and Scotland in January took the total number of regions and nations reporting growth to ten out of a possible 12.

"With demand showing signs of improvement and price pressures easing, firms in most parts of the UK started the year with renewed optimism. Although price increases in January were slower than seen on average over the past two years, in some parts of the UK rates of inflation are still running hot. It will be worth monitoring whether these inflation imbalances persistent going forward, with the Bank of England expected to start cutting interest rates later in the year."


Please see the regional reports in full:


UK National (PDF, 1.25MB)

North East (PDF, 3.3MB)

North West (PDF, 2.9MB)

Yorkshire and the Humber (PDF, 3.4MB)

East Midlands (PDF, 1.2MB)

West Midlands (PDF, 1.1MB)

East of England (PDF, 3.1MB)

London (PDF, 1.1MB)

South East (PDF, 1.2MB)

South West (PDF, 1.0MB)

Scotland (PDF, 1.0MB)

Wales (PDF, 1.1MB)


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 NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

scroll to top