The Scottish economy remained stuck in a downturn during February, centred on the services sector, but with manufacturing output returning to growth.
The seasonally adjusted headline figure of the Royal Bank of Scotland Business Activity Index – a measure of combined manufacturing and service sector output – remained well below the 50.0 mark.
Having risen 33.3 in January, to 44.1 in February, the latest figure pointed to a slower pace of reduction, but one that was still sharp overall.
Meanwhile, the figures for new business declined further amid reports that the continuing Covid-19 measures has stymied client demand.
But on the up side, sentiment towards activity over the coming 12 months was the strongest on record, with hopes of looser restrictions and an economic recovery driving optimism.
A sixth straight monthly reduction in the level of new business at Scottish private sector firms was recorded in February.
Panellists linked the