By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- U.K. manufacturing activity is slowing more sharply than expected as persistent price pressures take their toll on manufacturers and service companies alike, according to a closely-watched business survey published on Thursday.
S&P Global's manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 53.4 from 54.6 in June, according to preliminary estimates. While that still signifies expansion, it's the lowest reading since February 2021 and below forecasts for a 53.7 reading.
“The economy is starting to look like it is running on empty," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global. "Current business growth is being supported by orders placed in prior months as companies report a near-stalling of demand. Manufacturers in particular are struggling with falling orders, especially for exports, and the service sector is already seeing signs of the recent growth spurt from pent-up pandemic demand move into reverse amid the rising cost of living."
S&P noted that the business expectations index, one of the big sub-indexes that feed into the PMI, fell by 4.6 points in June, which was the largest monthly decline since the start of the pandemic.
The services PMI held up slightly better than expected, staying unchanged from May at 53.4.
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