The UK private sector contracted again in November as new orders posted its biggest fall in nearly two years as the rising cost of living squeezed demand in both the manufacturing and services sectors, a closely watched survey showed on Wednesday.
The S&P Global/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply composite output index registered 48.3 in November, up fractionally from 48.2 in October.
The score was expected to fall to 47.5 in November. Nonetheless, the reading remained below 50.0 for the fourth straight month suggesting contraction.
Manufacturing production continued to decline at a faster pace than service sector activity.
The services Purchasing Managers’ Index remained unchanged at 48.8 in November, while the reading was forecast to fall to 48.0. The manufacturing PMI also held steady at 46.2 versus the expected score of 45.8.
New work decreased for the fourth consecutive month in November and the pace of decline was the sharpest since January 2021. Lower volumes of new business from abroad contributed to the deterioration in order books.
Although employment numbers continued to increase in November falling volumes of incoming new work contributed to a slower rate of job creation.
Input cost pressures continued to remain high in November driven by surging energy bills and higher wages. Prices charged by companies meanwhile increased at the slowest pace since August 2021.
Business expectations for the year ahead rebounded from the 30-month low in October. Still the reading pointed to the second-lowest degree of business optimism since May 2020.