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Progress within the UK’s service sector eased to a five-month low in February, in line with a closely-watched survey.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for services fell to 53.three, down from 54.5 in January. Nonetheless, it stays above the 50 threshold that separates progress from contraction.

Markit estimates the financial system will develop by zero.four% within the first quarter of 2017.

Providers, which embody areas resembling finance and authorized recommendation, make up greater than three-quarters of the UK financial system.

“An extra slowdown in UK enterprise exercise progress in February provides to proof that the financial system has misplaced momentum after the spectacular enlargement seen on the finish of final yr,” mentioned Chris Williamson, chief enterprise economist at IHS Markit.

“Inflationary pressures remained the very best for six years as corporations struggled with rising prices related to the weak pound, however optimism in regards to the yr forward remained elevated by latest requirements,” he added.

Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at Capital Economics, mentioned: “Wanting forward, the financial system faces numerous headwinds together with greater inflation and uncertainty surrounding the long run relationship with the EU as formal negotiations get underway.”

“Nonetheless, we proceed to suppose that the UK will climate these nicely, and anticipate GDP progress of 1.eight% in 2017 and a pair of.5% in 2018.”