Regional output hit by winter chill

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The Independent Online

Private sector output growth slowed in December across the majority of English regions, data from Lloyds Banking Group will show today. The slowdown was centred on the service sector, with a number of firms suggesting that the harsh winter weather hit demand from clients.

But a strong recovery in manu-facturing production continued in December, helping to place the West Midlands at the top of the regional growth table for the first time since September 2007. The weakest performing regions were the North-west and South-east, where business activity increased only slightly.

John Maltby, managing director of Lloyds TSB Commercial, said the latest Purchasing Managers' Index data suggested that adverse weather conditions particularly hampered the service sector's performance.

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