Business orders boost welcomed

Martyn Kendrick
Martyn Kendrick

An increase in new orders for North West firms contributed towards the fastest rise in business activity for three months during July, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®).

The North West business activity PMI registered 54.7 in July, up from June’s reading of 53.8 and marginally above the UK average of 54.1. A reading above 50 shows growth, whereas a reading below indicates contraction.

To meet increased demand, firms took on extra staff at a faster rate than the UK average, and at the quickest pace experienced locally in the last three months.

Higher raw material costs from the weak pound contributed towards further rises in input prices. Increased cost burdens were partly passed on to clients through higher prices charged for goods and services.

The Lloyds Bank PMI, or Purchasing Managers’ Index, is the leading economic health-check of UK regions. Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: “After observing a pattern of slowing business activity growth during the previous three months, it’s encouraging to see an acceleration in July.