UK business activity rebounds into growth: data

The British private sector’s composite purchasing managers’ index hit a 61-month peak at 57.1 points in July. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 24 July 2020

UK business activity rebounds into growth: data

  • Composite purchasing managers’ index hits 61-month peak at 57.1 points in July

LONDON: Britain’s private sector economic activity returned to growth in July on easing lockdown restrictions, having plunged since March on coronavirus fallout, a closed watched survey showed Friday.
The composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) hit a 61-month peak at 57.1 points in July, registering the fastest expansion since June 2015, compilers IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) said in a statement. That compared with a reading of 47.7 in June.
The PMI has now jumped back above the key 50 level to indicate a rebound from contraction into growth.
“July data indicated a marked improvement in business conditions across the UK private sector economy following the easing of lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease,” Markit/CIPS added in the statement.
“The latest survey indicated a return to growth for the service sector and a much faster rise in manufacturing production than seen in June.”
The composite PMI last stood above 50 in February before the pandemic hit.


Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

Updated 23 November 2020

Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

  • Economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector hurt supply chains
  • Budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity

BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 4 percent in 2021 after a slump this year and fiscal policy will support a tourism-reliant economy struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said on Monday.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy shrank a less than expected 6.4 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier after falling 12.1 percent in the previous three months.
The economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector, which accounts for about 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), has also hurt supply chains, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.
“Without the COVID, our economy could have expanded 3 percent this year, he said. “As we expect a 6 percent contraction this year, there is the output gap of 9 percent,” he told a business forum.
“Next year, we expect 4 percent growth, which is still not 100 percent yet,” Arkhom said, adding it could take until 2022 to return to pre-pandemic levels.
There is still fiscal policy room to help growth from this year’s fiscal budget and some from rehabilitation spending, he said.
The budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity, Arkhom said, and the current public debt of 49 percent of GDP was manageable.
Of the government’s 1 trillion baht ($33 billion) borrowing plan, 400 billion would be for economic revival, of which about 120 billion-130 billion has been approved, Arkhom said.
He wants the Bank of Thailand to take more action short term on the baht, which continued to rise on Monday, despite central bank measures announced on Friday to rein in the currency strength.
“They have done that and they have their measures... which should be introduced gradually and more intensely,” Arkhom said.