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New business in Scotland falls at sharpest pace for nearly 4 years

Staff Writer |
Scotland’s private sector experienced a downturn at the start of the third quarter, with output returning to contraction territory.

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The fall stemmed from a drop in new business intakes, the sharpest reported for 47 months.

Despite backlogs of work continuing to deteriorate, workforce numbers stabilised during the month, ending a seven-month sequence of job shedding. The seasonally adjusted headline Bank of Scotland PMI fell to a fourmonth low of 49.2 during July (down from 50.5 in June).

The return to contraction territory was broad-based across manufacturers and service providers, after both recorded declines in their business activity. Demand for Scottish goods and services deteriorated at the sharpest pace for nearly four years during July.

Moreover, the decline ended a three-month period of growth. Although new business levels were lowered at a muted pace in Scotland’s service sector, new order volumes at goods producers contracted at the sharpest rate since September 2012.

Meanwhile, employee numbers stabilised in July, ending a seven-month sequence of decline. According to anecdotal evidence, manufacturers linked the decline to improved production efficiency.

Scotland’s private sector companies left their selling prices broadly unchanged during July, having lowered them marginally in June.

Meanwhile, latest survey data highlighted a further increase in average cost burdens in Scotland’s private sector economy. The rise continues a trend which has been observed since February.


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