03 March 2005 | Gareth Mytton
All areas of the UK services economy grew in February amid further rises in business activity and new orders, according to the latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) report.
The services sector business activity index - a composite indicator of sector conditions from CIPS and NTC Research in which an index of 50 indicates no change on the previous month, fell to 55.1 - from January's 55.9.
The IT and computing sector enjoyed the biggest rise in activity, although the slowdown led some services companies to make redundancies.
The biggest rise in input prices hit the hotels and restaurants sector, with more than a fifth of all services companies saying they had risen. The input price index was the lowest since July 2004, but was still severe.
Almost twice as many companies said new orders had risen, compared with those reporting a fall, amid a slower rise in new orders (55.5).
In the euro-zone, the NTC Research services sector business activity index fell to 53. Of the big four countries in the euro-zone, France and Spain enjoyed a rise in growth, while it was near-stagnant in Germany and hit a 20-month low in Italy.
In the US, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) report on non-manufacturing business showed a slight rise in activity in February, as the index rose to 59.8, from 59.2 in January.
• Coverage of previous months' services, manufacturing and construction PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi
• More information on the UK and euro-zone PMIs is available at www.ntc-research.com
• The full text of the ISM reports on the US non-manufacturing economy for February and previous months is available at http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/index.cfm.