Monday 21st May 2018
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Businesses stay confident as pace of growth slows in the region

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The pace of business growth slowed in the region in May although firms continued to create new jobs and business confidence rose to its strongest level for nearly a year, according to a key survey of purchasing managers.

The Lloyds Bank UK regional PMI survey fell to 54.2 in May, down from 57.3 in April and below the national average although it remained above the 50 level which signals growth. Firms in the East created new jobs at a four-month high in May in the face of new orders which rose, albeit at a slower rate than in April. Business confidence in the region improved to strongest in 11 months, with planned expansions and capital investment expected to bolster demand. With the weak pound, cost inflation rose, reflecting higher raw materials costs.

Steve Elsom, regional director for SME banking in the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The East of England economy continued to grow during May, but lost some of its momentum as growth slowed below the UK average as a whole for the first time in more than two years. …On a positive note, business sentiment peaked at an 11-month high and a healthy rate of employment growth continued to support the local economy.”