06 May 2008 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the services industry grew at its slowest rate in five years.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index on services, where a figure above 50 represents growth, April's activity in the sector registered 50.4. It signalled a slowdown compared with March's figure of 52.1. Difficult economic conditions linked to the credit crunch were blamed for the dip.
Input prices hit another record high, rising for the third successive month to record 67.3. High energy and food costs contributed to the upturn.
Prices charged by providers grew in April, registering 55.2, a slight fall on March's figure of 56.2. The strongest increases were reported in hotels, restaurants and transport.
New orders continued to grow in April, reaching 51.5, compared with 53.4 the previous month. Although still increasing, the weak housing market was cited as reason for the fall. The sector's profitability continued to decrease. In April it remained below the 50 mark, recording 45.9, a sharp fall from the 47.8 recorded in March.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi