Scots private sector output hits 14-month high

Scotland’s private sector recorded a modest increase in business activity during January, with the headline Business Activity Index reaching a 14-month high, driven partly by a renewed rise in new business.

That’s according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which reported that business activity across Scotland’s private sector increased during January, following no growth in December.

“The seasonally adjusted headline Royal Bank of Scotland Business Activity Index – a measure of combined manufacturing and service sector output – posted 52.0 in January, up from 50.0 in December, to signal a modest increase in Scottish private sector activity following stagnant output in December,” said the report.

“Panellists linked the increase with improved client demand.

“That said, the uptick was subdued in the context of the series history and softer than that seen at the UK level.

“By sector, service providers recorded an eighth successive monthly rise in activity, with growth quickening from December.

“Meanwhile, output continued to fall in the manufacturing segment, although the decline was the softest in the current eight- month sequence of reduction and only fractional overall.”

Malcolm Buchanan, chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The Scottish private sector recorded a modest increase in business activity during January, with the headline Business Activity Index reaching a 14-month high, driven partly by a renewed rise in new business.

“That said, the uptick remained historically subdued and softer than that seen across the UK as a whole.

“At the sector level, services recorded a quicker increase in activity, whilst the manufacturing segment remained weaker, noting an eighth successive fall in output.

“Positively, firms’ output expectations for the coming 12 months strengthened in January, with respondents linking confidence to a clearer outlook and hopes of improved demand conditions.

“Moreover, the level of positive sentiment was the highest since March 2019.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.