United Kingdom services sector growth picks up in February, survey shows

06 March, 2018, 02:19 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Services PMI falls to 6-month low of 47.8 in February

The softer rise in new work translated into the slowest gain in manufacturing output in four months in February.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 56.2 in February, down from January's near ten-and-a-half year high of 58.0 and the flash estimate of 56.7.

January's reading had been the weakest for that month since 2009, when the economy was deep in recession, and February's data remains weaker than the euro zone PMI. The IHS Markit Russia Composite Output Index, covering both manufacturing and services, also increased to 55.2 in February as compared with 54.8 in January. Firms continued to report improving demand from domestic and European Union markets. Orders grew by the most since May 2017. That's well above the 53.3 reading forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey. Germany topped the rankings, followed by France and then Spain.

Growth in new export business registered its second-lowest pace in 15 months, but nearly twice as numerous managers polled still expected higher new export orders than expected a contraction.

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Inflation hit its highest in more than five years in November at 3.1 percent, and the BoE forecast last month that it would overshoot its 2 percent target for the next three years.

Williamson said the PMI was consistent with GDP rising at a buoyant rate of 0.8-0.9%, which at the upper end would be the strongest since the second quarter of 2010.

"The (BoE) might feel it has invested too much reputational capital to hold back from raising rates in May, but the data won't support a series of hikes this year", he said.

United Kingdom services activity grew more than expected in February, supporting economic growth and keeping alive the prospect of an interest-rate increase within months.



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