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Financial News: UK Service Sector Expands For Fourth Month

UK Service Sector Expands For Fourth Month

03/05/2024 - 07:57:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK service sector expanded for the fourth consecutive month in February underpinned by robust new order growth and further rise in employment, final data from S&P Global showed on Tuesday.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 53.8 in February but down from 54.3 in January. The flash reading also stood at 54.3.

New business grew at the fastest pace since May 2023 on rising business and consumer spending. Improving export sales helped to boost total order books.

There was a moderate increase in staffing numbers. The increase was the fastest since July 2023.

Business optimism remained the strongest since February 2022. However, companies noted challenges arising from elevated economic and political uncertainty around the world.

Input price inflation accelerated to its highest since September 2023, primarily driven by higher wage bills. At the same time, the increase in output price inflation was the second-fastest since July 2023.

"Another solid expansion of business activity across the service sector in February adds to signs that the UK economy has turned a corner after entering a technical recession during the second half of 2023," S&P Global Market Intelligence Economics Director Tim Moore said.

The composite output index registered 53.0 in February, up fractionally from 52.9 in January but lower than the earlier 'flash' reading 53.3.

The index held above the neutral 50.0 threshold for the fourth month in a row. Moreover, the latest reading signaled a solid upturn in private sector output that was the fastest since May 2023.

The index has now posted above the neutral 50.0 threshold for four months running.

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