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UK Services Growth Slows More Than Forecast

UK service sector growth slowed more-than-expected in January, moving closer to stagnation, as new orders decreased for the first time in two-an-a-half years, preliminary data from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.

The CIPS Services Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, dropped to 50.1 from 51.2 in December. Economists had forecast a score of 51.

A PMI reading above 50 signals growth in the sector.

The latest reading was the lowest for two-and-a-half years and the second-weakest since December 2012, IHS Markit said.

The composite PMI, which combines manufacturing, services and construction, fell to 50.3 in January from 51.5 in December. Economists had forecast a score of 51.5.

The latest reading signaled the slowest pace of expansion over this period and the second-lowest since December 2012.

"The latest PMI survey results indicate that the UK economy is at risk of stalling or worse as escalating Brexit uncertainty coincides with a wider slower slowdown in the global economy," Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said.

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