The UK Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) showed continuing growth in February, though at a slower rate of expansion.
The index registered at a three-month low of 53.8 with cost inflation down to an 18-month low. January's index was up at 56.0.
Commenting on the report, David Noble, CIPS CEO said:
“Businesses in the services sector remain decidedly confident this month, based on expectations for activity growth and perceptions that the Eurozone crisis may be starting to stabilise. Buoyed by the steady growth in business activity since the start of 2011, admittedly below pre-recession levels, there is still much to feel upbeat about.
“The biggest challenge for businesses in the current operating environment is to protect margins in a market where customers have the upper hand on pricing. Although input cost rises continue to ease, the pressure to discount and undercut the competition is acute.
“The expansion of headcount is also a casualty of this pressure, as businesses look to control costs and maximise the resources already available to them. Employment levels are likely to stay broadly flat until there is a more pronounced and sustained growth in activity.”
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