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Financial News: UK Service Sector Growth Weakest Since Mid-2016

UK Service Sector Growth Weakest Since Mid-2016

04/05/2018 - 04:46:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK service sector expanded at the weakest pace since July 2016 due to bad weather, survey data from IHS Markit showed Thursday.

The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Purchasing Managers' Index fell more-than-expected to 51.7 in March from 54.5 in February. The score was forecast to drop to 54.0.

Survey respondents noted that snow disruption and unusually bad weather conditions in March had been a key factor holding back business activity growth.

The increase in new business volume was the weakest seen for 20 months. In addition to bad weather, respondents said subdued consumer demand and Brexit-related uncertainty delayed decision making.

Although employment increased in March, the rate of job creation was the slowest seen so far this year.

Average cost burdens was the strongest seen for three months. Higher input prices were attributed to greater staff salaries, rising utility bills and increased raw material costs.

Average prices charged by service providers increased at a robust pace across the service economy in March.

Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said, "The PMI surveys collectively signal a quarterly GDP growth rate of just under 0.3 percent, down from 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, albeit with the rate of growth sliding to just 0.15 percent in March alone."

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