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UK Service Sector Growth Moderates In November


British service sector growth moderated in November from a six-month high as Brexit uncertainty weighed on growth and confidence, survey data from IHS Markit showed Tuesday.

The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Purchasing Managers' Index, dropped more-than-expected to 53.8 in November from 55.6 in October.

Economists had expected the score to drop marginally to 55.0. However, any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

The survey data are so far consistent with the economy growing at a quarterly rate of 0.45 percent in the closing months of 2017, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said.

"Uncertainty about the economic outlook, linked commonly to Brexit worries, continued to permeate the business mood in November," Williamson added.

The survey provided reassurance that the economy has held on to its recent momentum in the fourth quarter so far, rather than slowing any further, Ruth Gregory, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

Higher levels of business activity in November was driven by a further solid upturn in new work, the survey revealed. Nonetheless, the rate of new business growth eased since October and was weaker than seen on average so far this year.

Employment rose only marginally in November, with the rate of job creation unchanged from October's seven-month low.

On the price front, input price inflation remained the strongest since the first half of 2011, linked to higher costs for energy, food, fuel, imported items and staff salaries.

Moreover, the rate of prices charged inflation was the second-fastest seen since the survey began in 1996.

November data indicated that service providers' optimism about the year ahead outlook remained much weaker than the long-run survey average.

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