UK March final services PMI 56.3 vs 56.8 prelim

Latest data released by Markit/CIPS – 7 April 2021

  • Composite PMI 56.4 vs 56.6 prelim
The preliminary report can be found here. Minor downward revisions as the final readings just reaffirm a modest rebound in overall activity in March as output and incoming new work saw strong increases last month.

Business expectations for the year ahead was the strongest since December 2006 in anticipation of the continued success in the vaccine rollout. Markit notes that:

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“UK service providers were back in expansion mode in
March as confidence in the roadmap for easing lockdown
restrictions provided a strong uplift to new orders. Total
business activity increased at the fastest rate since August
2020 and this return to growth ended a four-month sequence
of decline.

“Forward bookings for consumer services and rising
optimism about recovery prospects resulted in extra staff
hiring across the service economy for the first time since
the start of the pandemic. Business optimism improved for
the fifth month running in March and was the highest since
December 2006.

“Around two-thirds of the survey panel forecast an increase
in output during the year ahead, which reflected signs of
pent up demand and a boost to growth projections from the
successful UK vaccine rollout. Of the small minority citing
downbeat expectations in March, this was often linked to
uncertainty about international travel restrictions.

“There were further signs that strong cost pressures have
spilled over from manufacturers to the service economy,
especially for imported items. Higher prices paid for raw
materials, alongside rising transport costs and utility bills,
meant that operating expenses across the service sector
increased at the strongest rate since June 2018.”

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