Companies across Wales experienced a sharper rise in new business than any other UK region, the latest Lloyds Bank PMI report has revealed.
The increase in new orders boosted business activity, which grew for the sixteenth consecutive month and at a faster rate than the UK average.
The latest Wales PMI posted a reading of 58.3, down fractionally from October’s nine-month high of 58.6. A reading of above 50 signals growth and below 50 signals contraction.
Despite continued growth, companies across Wales stated they were slightly less confident about their prospects over the coming 12 months than in October. Although firms remained positive about their prospects, the degree of optimism was less that the rest of the UK as a whole.
However, this didn’t discourage companies from taking on more staff, with businesses creating new jobs for the twenty-first consecutive month.
Rising input costs – including the price of raw materials and wages – continued to put pressure on companies, although the rate of inflation eased to a 16-month low. Despite this, businesses increased their selling prices for the sixty-second month running and at the quickest pace since April.
The Lloyds Bank PMI, or purchasing managers’ index, is the leading economic health-check of UK regions. It is based on responses from manufacturers and services businesses about the volume of goods and services produced during November compared with a month earlier.
Allan Griffiths, regional director for SME Banking , Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:
“Wales maintained its position as one of the best performing regions in the UK during November, with an increase in new orders, business activity and employment levels meaning many companies are entering the final month of the year on a high.
“With Christmas on the horizon, many firms will now be gearing up for the festive rush, and will need to ensure that they have enough working capital available to take advantage of the increase in demand.
“Releasing cash tied up in assets, such as stock and invoices, is an ideal way to release working capital, which can then be invested to ensure that companies can thrive over Christmas period.”