East Anglia: Lloyds Bank PMI survey shows record growth in new orders

Steve Elsom of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Steve Elsom of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. - Credit: Archant

Companies in the East of England have reported a record increase in new orders during November, with the general level business activity also sharply higher.

Backlogs of work also accumulated at a record pace while charge inflation accelerated at its quickest since June 2011 as companies responded to increased input costs, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking PMI report.

The headline Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking East of England Business Activity Index, a seasonally adjusted index that measures the combined output of the manufacturing and service sectors, registered 59.8 in November, down only fractionally from October’s record high of 60.0.

In the the 12th consecutive monthly increase in activity, with more than one-in-three panellists reporting growth.

New orders also rose in November, with the pace of expansion the quickest since the survey began in 1997 and above the overall UK average. Anecdotal evidence suggested that growth in new business was linked to higher construction activity, stronger export demand and the securing of new clients.

The new orders growth put pressure on capacity in the East of England, with backlogs of work also accumulating at the quickest pace in the survey history. Work-in-hand rose for the fifth straight month and was centred around the services sector.

Meanwhile, employment levels rose at the second-fastest pace in over six-and-a-half years, as companies faced higher business requirements. More than one-in-five companies hired additional workers, while 7% shed staff.

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Input costs continued to increase in November, but the rate of inflation eased slightly since October and was below the series average. Where a cost rise was reported, companies linked this to higher raw material prices and increased staff salaries.

Selling prices at East of England companies also rose during the latest survey period. Charge inflation picked up since October and was the highest in almost two-and-a-half years. Panellists linked higher charges to increased input costs.

Steve Elsom, area director for SME banking in East Anglia at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:

“The private sector across the East of England saw further growth in November, with activity growth just shy of October’s record high.

“Companies also reported strong inflows of new work, with the rate of growth in new business accelerating to an all-time high. In response to increased demand companies hired additional employees.”