3 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark
Growth in the UK services sector eased back to a modest pace
in February after an eight-month high in January.
The Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI survey found expansion of
the sector fell back to levels seen prior to the severe winter weather in
February’s seasonally adjusted figure was 52.6, down from
January’s peak of 54.5. An index score of 50 indicates no change.
The survey found that new business was rising at a solid
rate and confidence strengthened to a nine-month peak.
CEO David Noble said: “While the sector wasn’t exactly a shrinking violet
in February, the latest PMI data is certainly shy of what we might have hoped
for. January’s bounce back petered out slightly, back to below average growth
performance compared to 2010. The sector remains on the sidelines as reliance
on manufacturing and construction for GDP growth intensifies.
“Inflation, a threat which is impacting on all areas of the
economy, has been one of the biggest burdens for this all-important sector.
Input prices continue to increase at a historically steep pace, affecting those
in consumer facing and transport industries the most.”
Meanwhile, research firm Markit has
calculated a composite PMI based on the data from all sectors collected from
buyers in February. This scores 52.6,
down from January’s high of 54.5.