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Financial News: UK Services Activity Logs Slowest Expansion In 4

UK Services Activity Logs Slowest Expansion In 4 Months

04/04/2024 - 06:19:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK service sector signaled further solid expansion in March, though at the slowest pace in four months amid a weaker rise in new business, final data from S&P Global showed on Thursday.

The services purchasing managers' index fell to 53.1 in March from 53.8 in February. That was also below the flash score of 53.4. However, a score above 50 indicates expansion.

The UK service sector expanded for the fifth consecutive month in March, although at the weakest pace since November 2023.

New orders grew  at the slowest pace in four months. The overall increase was attributed to resilient businesses and consumer spending, despite headwinds from elevated borrowing costs and squeezed client budgets.

Newb export demand also increased at a slower rate in March, and the expansion was linked to rising demand in the US and major European markets.

Consequently, the rate of job creation across the British service sector softened to the slowest so far this year as cost pressures and efforts to achieve efficiency gains led to hiring freezes and the non-replacement of voluntary leavers. 

On the price front, input price inflation remained elevated in March amid rising salary payments and higher fuel and transportation costs. Meanwhile Selling price inflation eased competitive pressures.

Service providers remained confident about the outlook for business activity over the next year, but optimism has eased somewhat since February.

The composite output index dropped to 52.8 in March from a 9-month high of 53.0 in February, indicating a solid upturn in private sector business activity.

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