The UK private sector posted a strong revival in April after the downturn seen at the start of the year amid the full nationwide lockdown, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed on Friday.
The flash Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply composite output index advanced more-than-expected to 60.0 in April from 56.4 in the previous month. The expected reading was 58.2.
The latest reading signaled the strongest overall increase in UK private sector output since November 2013.
Business activity should continue to grow strongly in May and June as virus restrictions are eased further, setting the scene for a bumper second quarter for the economy, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said.
Service activity expanded to the greatest extent since August 2014 and manufacturing production growth accelerated to its fastest for eight months.
The flash services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 60.1 from 56.3 in March. This was also well above economists’ forecast of 59.0.
The factory PMI improved to 60.7 from 58.9 in March. The reading was expected to rise moderately to 59.0.
There was a sharp and accelerated increase in new business volumes and stronger order books were achieved against a backdrop of subdued export sales.
The index measuring business expectations for the next 12 months held close to the series-record high seen in March. Data pointed to the steepest rate of job creation since August 2017.
April data showed that rapid cost inflation persisted across the UK private sector, led by higher fuel bills, staff wages, commodity prices and freight surcharges.
Average prices charged continued to increase at one of the fastest rates for the past three-and-a-half years.
The staggered reopening of the domestic economy will lift GDP from 7.8 percent below its pre-pandemic level in February to about 2-3 percent below in July, Kieran Tompkins, an economist at Capital Economics, said. But the recovery could be even quicker.
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