Industry trends

Private sector growth eases, as CFOs eye capex

Activity showed signs of slowing

Scottish private sector firms recorded slower growth in activity at the end of 2021, according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland PMI.

The seasonally adjusted headline Royal Bank of Scotland Business Activity Index – a measure of combined manufacturing and service sector output – posted 52.7 in December, down sharply from 55.9 in November.

This signalled a further uplift in activity, but one that was the weakest in the current ten-month sequence of growth. Services saw a slower rate of expansion, while factory production declined for the first time since last September.

Growth of new work eased noticeably, with inflows of new business rising only mildly overall in December, as some survey respondents noted that COVID-19 concerns had weighed on client demand.

Inflows of new work to Scottish firms rose for the ninth month running in December, amid reports of improved client demand. The rate of growth eased noticeably to the weakest in the current sequence however and was only mild overall.

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