Scotland business

Scottish private sector output 'hits 19-month high'

Apprentice in steel fabrication factory Image copyright Getty Images

A spurt in manufacturing production last month saw Scottish private sector output increase at its fastest pace since July 2015, according to a survey.

The latest Bank of Scotland PMI found production expanded in February at its sharpest rate for 37 months.

Manufacturers linked the rise to a combination of improved productivity and stronger underlying demand.

However, service sector firms reported a "subdued" rise in business activity.

The PMI - which measures changes in combined manufacturing and services output - reached a 19-month high of 51.7 in February, up from 51.2 in the previous month.

Any figure above 50 suggests expansion.

Input costs

More than half of the survey's panellists reported a rise in input costs during the month, with input prices in the manufacturing sector increasing at one of the sharpest rates in the survey's history.

Firms attributed that to a combination of exchange rate movements and higher raw material costs.

In response, goods producers raised their selling prices for the eighth month in a row, and at the second-quickest rate since April 2011.

Meanwhile, private sector companies recorded a third successive monthly increase - albeit marginal - in new business.

Some firms linked the growth to greater marketing efforts, while others cited increased activity in the oil and gas sector.

The survey data was collected from a panel of about 500 companies based in Scotland.

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