British economy bounces back from the pandemic with fastest growth since August
Business activity is growing at the fastest rate in seven months as Britain’s economy bounces back from the pandemic.
Despite the continuing lockdown, firms recovered at the quickest pace since last August, according to a closely-watched survey from IHS Markit and CIPS.
But in a sign of the damage done to the economy, inflation slipped to 0.4 per cent in February from 0.7 per cent at the start of the year, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.
Recovery: Despite the continuing lockdown, British firms recovered at the quickest pace since last August, according to a closely-watched survey from IHS Markit and CIP
Prices were driven down by clothing and footwear, and arts and recreation, as households remained locked indoors.
Experts were cheered by March’s pick-up in activity, and said it suggested the economy was finally on the path to recovery.
Thomas Pugh, UK economist at Capital Economics, said: ‘Once the Covid-19 shackles start to be released next month, activity will probably rebound even more rapidly.’
The rise was driven by the services sector, where the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reading rose to 56.8 from 49.6 in February.
Anything above 50 indicates expansion. The manufacturing PMI hit a 40-month high of 57.9, up from 55.1 in February.
Chris Williamson, of IHS Markit, said: ‘Companies reported an influx of new orders on a scale exceeded only once in almost four years, and business expectations for growth in the year ahead surged to the highest since comparable data were first available in 2012.’