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Downturn In UK Private Sector Continues In May

UK private sector output remained on a steep downward trajectory in May due to business shutdowns amid the coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic, according to the flash survey results published by IHS Markit, on Thursday.

The flash IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply composite output index rose to 28.9 in May from 13.8 in April. The score was also above the expected 25.7.

Nonetheless, the latest reading signaled a far steeper pace of contraction than at the worst point of the global financial crisis.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 27.8 versus 13.4 in April. The reading was forecast to rise to 25.0.

The manufacturing PMI advanced to 40.6 in May from 32.6 in the previous month. The expected level was 36.0.

"While the quarterly rate of decline looks likely to peak at around 20% in the second quarter, the recovery will be measured in years not months," Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said.

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