The headline NatWest East Midlands PMI® Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-on-month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – posted at 51.6 in January, up from 50.7 in December, to signal the fastest rise in output at East Midlands firms since May 2022.
Anecdotal evidence suggested the expansion was driven by stronger client demand and a renewed rise in new business. The pace of growth was only marginal, however, and slower than the UK average.
East Midlands private sector firms signalled a renewed rise in new orders during January, thereby ending a six-month sequence of contraction. The rate of growth was only marginal, but the second-sharpest of the 12 monitored UK regions.
Increased new business was linked by panellists to stronger client demand and new customer acquisitions.
January data signalled an uptick in business optimism among East Midlands firms. The degree of confidence was the strongest since last September, despite still being below the series average. Companies noted that motivated sales staff, hopes of stronger client demand and investment in new machinery and facilities boosted positive sentiment.
Nonetheless, the level of optimism was weaker than that seen across the
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