Growth in UK economic activity has slowed more than expected to an 18-month low as manufacturing shrank on weaker demand, supply shortages and labour, according to a closely watched survey.
The S&P/Cips global flash UK composite purchasing managers’ index, a measure of private sector activity, dropped to 50.9 in August from 52.1 last month. That is the lowest reading since February 2021, when the country was in a pandemic-related lockdown.
The reading, based on data collected between August 12 and 19, was weaker than the 51.1 forecast by economists polled by Reuters and was only marginally above the 50 mark, which indicates a majority of businesses reporting a month-on-month expansion.
Annabel Fiddes, economics associate director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: “The UK private sector moved closer to stagnation in August, as mild growth of activity across the service sector only just offset a deepening downturn at manufacturers.”
The PMI index for manufacturing…