☛ Want the latest procurement and supply chain news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the Supply Management Daily
3 February 2012 | Paul
The UK services sector
continued its rapid expansion in January, reporting its strongest growth since
March last year.
The Markit/CIPS UK
Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) recorded a figure of 56 last month, a
rise compared with December’s figure of 54 and the third consecutive monthly increase.
A figure above 50 represents growth.
There was also good
news in business confidence, with the biggest one month increase in the
survey’s 15-and-a-half-year history; employment, which experienced its highest
rise in almost four years and the biggest rise in new business since July,
thanks to new products and marketing campaigns.
Coupled with this
positive was relief for purchasers as input prices eased to their lowest level
in 14 months, although higher fuel, food and wage costs saw charges continue to
rise. But the slowdown did mean companies didn’t have to pass price rises onto
customers, leaving output prices little changed.
“The surprisingly strong upturn in the
service sector follows a similar improvement in manufacturing and ongoing
growth in construction, which all points to a resounding revival of UK economic
growth in January,” said Markit chief
economist Chris Williamson.
CIPS CEO David Noble
described the continued growth as welcome but highlighted the precarious
economic backdrop. “Unpredictable external factors across the Eurozone could
well splinter confidence,” he said. “And in a fiercely competitive business
environment where clients are increasingly demanding more for less, the
pressure to convert new business and carefully plan capacity is likely to be
the test for businesses in 2012.”