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Services sector growth bucks Brexit fears


Britain’s services sector has defied fears of a Brexit slowdown, recording its fastest rate of growth in nearly 18 months today.

The latest purchasing managers’ index from Markit/CIPS shows a third consecutive month of growth, with the index rising from 55.2 in November to 56.2 in December where a value above 50 indicates growth and below 50 indicates slowdown.

New work drove an expansion in the services sector, the survey suggests, but output price inflation – what business charged – rose at the strongest rate since April 2011.

Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson said that the figures may suggest an upward movement in interest rates was now more likely than a cut, but that policy makers were unlikely to act in the short term and may still keep interest rates low over Brexit uncertainty.

Williamson says: “At face value, this improvement suggests that the next move by the Bank of England is more likely to be a rate hike than a cut, but policymakers are clearly concerned about the extent to which Brexit related uncertainty could slow growth this year. They will therefore consider the current resilience of the economy alongside the elevated levels of uncertainty highlighted by the historical weakness of business optimism about the year ahead. Any change in policy therefore looks unlikely in the short term, and the next move in policy could as much be a rate cut as a hike.”



Govt attacked over ‘muddled thinking’ on Brexit

The UK’s outgoing ambassador to the EU has said “serious multilateral negotiating experience is in short supply” in Whitehall in a resignation letter to staff. Sir Ivan Rogers resigned from his post on 3 January and is to leave the position earlier than when his tenure ends in October. According to the BBC, Roger’s email to […]


CBI outlines Brexit demands

The Confederation of British Industry says every sector of the UK economy needs to have a successful relationship with the European Union in its largest consultation of members since Brexit. The report, Making a Success of Brexit, questioned 18 sectors across the UK economy. The business trade body has outlined six demands for Brexit negotiations with the […]


Brexit trade deal could take a decade, ambassador warns

Britain’s ambassador to the EU has privately told the government a trade deal after Brexit might take a decade to complete, the BBC reports Sir Ivan Rogers warned that rejections from national Parliaments across the EU meant that a deal, which was unlikely to finish until the early to mid-2020s anyway, may still fail. Rogers, […]

Pensions Dashboards around the World

Steve Webb’s latest policy paper British savers risk being left in the ‘slow lane’ unless the UK Government takes a more active role in ensuring the successful delivery of a Pensions Dashboard. The report, ‘Pensions Dashboards around the World’, coincided with a major conference that was held on Monday 16 May and brought together experts […]


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