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Financial News: UK Service Sector Contracts Most In 8 Months

UK Service Sector Contracts Most In 8 Months

02/03/2021 - 04:58:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK service sector contracted at the fastest pace in eight months in January due to the impact of restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic on trade and temporary business closures amid the third national lockdown, final survey results from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.

The Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply services Purchasing Managers' Index plunged to 41.2 from 50.4 in December. A score below 50 indicates contraction. The flash score was 40.6.

Driven by the downturn in services, the composite output index declined to 41.2 in January from 50.4 in December and below the flash 40.6. The pace of decline was the fastest since May 2020.

While the UK economy is on course to contract sharply during the first quarter of 2021, businesses remain confident that pent up demand and an easing of pandemic restrictions will provide a springboard to recovery later this year, Tim Moore, an economics director at IHS Markit, said.

Total volumes of new work across the service economy decreased at a sharp pace in January. New business from abroad continued to fall at a steeper pace than domestic sales.

Further, staffing numbers declined for the eleventh straight month. Higher input costs have been recorded in each of the past seven months, with the latest rise driven by transport expenses and higher salary payments.

Despite a sharp downturn in client demand due to the pandemic, the latest survey indicated that business optimism improved for the third consecutive month to the strongest since May 2014.

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