UK’s economic recovery fades as cases flares up

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    LONDON – Britain’s economic recovery lost more steam this month as a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic hit the hospitality and transport sectors and prompted a drop in consumer morale, surveys showed.

    An early “flash” reading of the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a gauge of private sector growth, fell to a four-month low of 52.9 in October from 56.5 in September.

    A Reuters poll of economists pointed to a smaller decline to 53.9.

    While official data on Friday showed September capped a record quarter of growth in retail sales, market research firm GfK warned of a hefty fall in consumer confidence this month amid a renewed outbreak of coronavirus.

    Britain, the European nation worst-hit by the pandemic, is now seeing a second wave of the virus and new cases have topped 20,000 for three days running.

    “The PMIs suggest you shouldn’t read too much into the decent rise in retail sales in September released earlier today,” said Paul Dales, chief UK economist at consultancy Capital Economics.

    “Instead, the renewed downward trend in the PMIs provides a better sense of what’s happening to the overall economy. And it’s not looking good.” —Reuters