Royal Bank of Scotland PMI report for Sept 2023

Fresh fall in private sector activity.

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Key Findings:

  • Output declines for first time since January
  • Continued downturn in new business
  • Cost burdens rise at weakest pace in over two-and-a-half years

The latest Royal Bank of Scotland PMI® survey signalled a fresh fall in output across Scotland’s private sector during September, as the ongoing weakness in manufacturing production extended to services activity which fell for the first time in eight months. The headline Scotland Business Activity Index moved below the 50.0 no-change threshold separating growth from contraction for the first time since January. That said, at 49.3 in September, down from 50.0 in August, the latest reading signalled only a marginal reduction in business activity and was weaker than that seen across the UK as a whole (48.5). The downturn across Scotland reflected weakening demand conditions. Inflows of new work fell for the third consecutive month in September. Firms noted that general uncertainty shrouding the economic outlook and increased borrowing costs and inflationary pressures had squeezed disposable incomes, discouraging customer activity. Judith Cruickshank, Chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, commented: "The third quarter ended with a fresh contraction in business activity across Scotland’s private sector, thereby marking the first fall in output since the start of the year. The downturn in activity was unsurprising as indicated by falling demand for Scottish goods and services for the third successive month in September. This, coupled with historically muted expectations for the outlook for output, signals a weak fourth quarter. Whether the downturn will gain momentum or if demand trends can be reversed will be something to watch for in the coming months. "In some positive news, cost burdens rose at the weakest pace in over two-and-a-half years. Cooler price pressures should eventually lead to renewed demand."


Please see the report in full:


Royal Bank of Scotland UK Regional PMI (PDF, 241KB)

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