Latest data released by Markit/CIPS - 21 May 2020

  • Prior 13.4
  • Manufacturing PMI 40.6 vs 37.2 expected
  • Prior 32.6
  • Composite PMI 28.9 vs 25.7
  • Prior 13.8

Much like the euro area readings earlier, this just reaffirms the bottoming in business activity seen in April with things improving in the month of May - relative to the prior month.

The details still aren't pretty though as rapid declines are still seen in new work and employment across the UK private sector, with both rates contracting further - only outpaced by the record decline seen in April.

Markit notes that:

"The UK economy remains firmly locked in an unprecedented downturn, with business activity and employment continuing to slump at alarming rates in May. Although the pace of decline has eased since April's record collapse, May saw the second largest monthly falls in output and jobs seen over the survey's 22-year history, the rates of decline continuing to far exceed anything seen previously.

"Travel and tourism firms, hotels, restaurants and producers of consumer goods such as clothing were again the hardest hit, reflecting virus containment measures, but this remains a shockingly broad-based downturn with very few companies left unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"An improvement in business confidence about the year ahead for a second successive month is welcome news, and the easing of restrictions in coming months should help boost activity in some sectors as we head into the summer.

"However, the UK looks set to see a frustratingly slow recovery, given the likely slower pace of opening up the economy relative to other countries which have seen fewer COVID-19 cases. Virus related restrictions, widespread job insecurity and weak demand will be exacerbated by growing business uncertainty regarding Brexit. We are consequently expecting GDP to fall by almost 12% in 2020. While the quarterly rate of decline looks likely to peak at around 20% in the second quarter, the recovery will be measured in years not months."

The full report can be found here.