Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Scottish private sector growth weakens as Omicron concerns strike

Post Thumbnail

Scotland enjoyed another upturn in private sector business activity in the final month of 2021, according to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Announcing its latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) figures, RBS said its measure of combined manufacturing and service sector output for December came in at 52.7.

Any reading above 50 on the PMI business activity index signifies growth, compared with the previous month.

10 months of growth

Last month’s result extends the sequence of growth in the index to 10 months.

But it was also the weakest performance since the readings turned positive early last year and down sharply from November’s 55.9.

Services saw a slower rate of expansion last month, while factory production declined.

Growth of new work “eased noticeably”, with inflows of new business rising only mildly overall, RBS said.

‘Sustained confidence’

Inflationary pressures remained “elevated”, but the rates of both cost and charge increases slowed from November’s peaks, the bank added.

December’s data points to “sustained confidence at Scottish companies with regards to activity over the coming 12 months,” RBS said.

And the bank – part of NatWest Group – attributed firms’ optimism “through anecdotal evidence” to hopes that Brexit and Covid-related issues will diminish and demand conditions improve.

Sentiment “moderated slightly” from November but remained historically strong, RBS said.

Malcolm Buchanan, RBS.

RBS Scotland board chairman Malcolm Buchanan said: “Scotland’s private sector grew at the weakest rate for 10 months as Omicron concerns weighed on client demand and supply issues continued to hinder companies, particularly in the manufacturing sector.


Sebastian Burnside, RBS chief economist.

Sebastian Burnside, chief economist, RBS,  added: “The resurgence of the pandemic in December put the brakes on the UK’s economic recovery, with each nation and region feeling the effects as people changed their behaviour in response to rising cases.

“Despite the similarities to previous waves, business activity levels seem to have been more resilient this time – due in part to comparatively lighter restrictions.”

For the ninth time in as many months, Scottish private sector companies recorded an increase in employment during December.

RBS said the rate of job creation was strong but the slowest since last April.

‘Blue Toon bucking the trend’: Time to see Peterhead’s name in lights as number of new businesses soar

Scottish business confidence falls on Omicron fears, new report shows

Already a subscriber? Sign in