The latest NatWest Regional PMI® survey data showed slowing growth across many areas of the UK in October. Eight out of nine English regions and Wales posted weaker increases in private sector output than in September. The East Midlands (54.2) topped the growth rankings, while the North East (47.4) remained the only region to record declining output.
Scotland and Northern Ireland fared relatively better due to slower growth rates across much of England. Having been in ninth and eleventh places in the rankings in September respectively, they rose to third and fourth places in October. Northern Ireland (52.8) was the only UK region to record stronger output growth, while the rate of expansion in Scotland (53.4) was stable. Meanwhile, Wales (53.6) posted the second-strongest overall rate of expansion, despite the slowing in growth since September.
Of the 11 regions recording higher output, London (51.5) and the North West (51.8) posted the most notable slowdowns in October. Both registered the weakest increases in private sector output in the current expansionary sequences following the shock to activity following the EU referendum in July 2016. The South West (52.0) was the other region to record growth that was below the UK average.
The four remaining regions – South East (52.7), Yorkshire & Humber (52.7), West Midlands (52.4) and East of England (52.4) – all posted similarly modest rates of growth in October.