UK Service Sector Expands Most In 6 Months On Strong Orders


United Kingdom construction activity remained subdued in October, and confidence that business would pick up over the next 12 months fell to its lowest level in nearly five years, according to a survey. The inflation rate also rose, but at the weakest pace since March.

The Caixin China services purchasing managers' index rose to 51.2 in October from 50.6 in September, Caixin Media Co. and research firm Markit said.

Activity in China's service sector expanded at a faster pace in October, a private gauge showed Friday, in contrast with official data showing a slower pace of growth. Readings above 50 signal an expansion while readings below 50 signal a contraction.

Economists said this was consistent with fourth-quarter United Kingdom gross domestic product growth improving from the 0.4% rate in the third quarter, though the PMIs do not always match up with official figures and do not include the struggling retail sector.

The composite output index, which covers both manufacturing and services, dropped to 53.2 in October from 54.8 in the previous month.

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Business optimism softened even further below its long-run trend and lower than average in the first half of 2017.

The firm's chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said the results underscore "the dilemma facing the Fed as it seeks to determine the right policy course amid signs of solid growth but soft inflation".

A day after the Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in a decade, a closely watched survey shows the British economy in relatively good health. For an economy reliant on services, that's an important driver for growth. "We envisage a second hike in the second quarter of 2018".

This was largely due to improved order growth following a 13-month low in September, as well as resilient client demand and new work increasing at the fastest rate since May.

"With consumers still under mounting pressure from rising inflation and Brexit uncertainty remaining elevated, we doubt that the economy is about to accelerate yet".