The UK economy is at risk of contracting and potentially slipping into a recession in the near future, according to the S&P Global/CIPS UK Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The survey highlights that a combination of rising interest rates and decreased household spending has led to a significant drop in demand for goods and services throughout August. This PMI, a gauge of key economic measures like orders and employment, indicates that economic activity has shrunk this month following a six-month period of growth. Notably, the index recorded a reading of 47.9 for August, with anything below 50 indicating a contraction; this reading is the lowest observed in two and a half years.
Although the PMI suggests that the Bank of England’s measures to curb inflation are proving effective, it also underscores concerns about the potential risks of recession due to the ongoing struggle against inflation. The release of the survey results prompted a decline in the value of the pound against the dollar, and financial analysts have adjusted their expectations for the peak interest rate from 6% to 5.5%. While the Bank of England’s strategy of raising interest rates is intended to temper inflation, it can simultaneously dampen consumer spending, investment, and employment, all of which can contribute to slower economic growth. The PMI findings reflect challenges in both the manufacturing and services sectors, signaling a possible continuation of economic weakness in the coming months. Additionally, the survey highlights ongoing recruitment difficulties and upward wage pressure, adding further complexity to the economic landscape.