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PMIs provide some comfort

23 June 2020

Hot on the heels of relatively strong rebounds in purchasing managers' index (PMI) data from Europe on 23 June (albeit still in contraction territory below 50 but far outpacing even the most bullish forecasts), the latest flash PMI data from the UK continues to show an encouraging bounce back as lockdowns ease. From the April lows in the manufacturing PMI at 32.9, June shows a level now at 50.1, bouncing back into a surprising expansion. Services, which showed a much sharper slowdown into the crisis (recording a reading of 12.3 in April), now stands at 47, way above even the most vocal bullish forecasts. The markets are likely to only take modest comfort from this high frequency data, and while not firm evidence of a strong V shaped recovery in the UK economy or anywhere else for that matter, it is of some comfort nonetheless. For markets to continue to make headway then broader and longer lasting PMI beats will continue to be needed and for that to happen more or less depends on Covid-19’s evolution in the population from here, which is still very uncertain.


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