NUMBER OF UK SECTORS IN GROWTH HITS SIX-MONTH HIGH

Alfie Brown

The number of UK sectors reporting output growth grew to a six-month high in March, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker.

The output of 11 of the 14 UK sectors monitored by the Recovery Tracker increased in March, up from six in February.

Manufacturers of technology equipment (69.7), metals and mining products (64.3) and transport operators (62.8) recorded the strongest growth. A reading above 50 signals output is rising, while a reading below 50 indicates output is contracting.

Technology equipment manufacturing, which includes producers of specialist parts in smart devices, motor vehicles, computers and industrial machinery, recorded the strongest output growth for the second month in a row as international demand for components increased at the fastest pace for more than seven years.

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Transport was the best-performing services sector in March, with output rising at its fastest rate since January 2017 after contracting sharply in January (31.5) and February (43.5) this year.

Jeavon Lolay, head of economics and market insight, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The UK’s recovery is clearly accelerating, as the economy continues to open up after a tough lockdown and optimism builds.

“It is particularly promising that so many UK sectors reported output growth in March, ahead of the re-opening of non-essential shops and client-facing services in England last week. It suggests that GDP growth picked up further in March and bodes well for the coming quarter as restrictions are hopefully further eased.

“The recovery in hiring across the majority of UK sectors represents a key signal of returning business confidence, which I would expect to continue to strengthen and broaden as restrictions are lifted and the pace of growth really takes off.”

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