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UK Feb. Service Sector Growth Eases More Than Expected: CIPS

3/5/2012 4:46 AM ET

Growth in U.K.'s service sector activity eased more than economists expected in February, mainly reflecting a weaker growth in new business, data from the survey by Markit Economics and CIPS showed Monday.

The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the service sector dropped to 53.8 in February from 56 in January, indicating the slowest growth in three months. Economists were looking for a reading of 54.9.A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while one below suggests decline.

New business received by service providers increased for the fourteenth successive month in February, but the rate of growth slowed.

Employment in the British service sector grew for a third successive month in February, though at a marginal rate. Cost inflation slowed to a one-and-a-half year low during the month, while output charges dropped modestly.

"Despite seeing some loss of momentum in February, the service sector continued to grow at a robust pace, adding to signs that a double-dip recession will be avoided," Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said. "So far this quarter, the sector has notched up its best performance since the spring of 2010, when the economy was rebounding strongly from the recession."

by RTT Staff Writer

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