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UK services grow at the fastest pace in 16 months

UK services expands at the fastest pace in 16 months

The services sector in Britain reported its fastest pace of expansion in 16 months in January, the final services Purchasing Managers’ Index data released on Wednesday showed.

Services PMI widened growth to 53.9 from 50.0 in December, while analysts had predicted the reading to remain unchanged from the preliminary of 52.9.

The Composite PMI, including the three main sectors, rose to 53.3, compared to December’s contraction of 49.3. That was above projections of 52.9.

Today’s report suggest the U.K. economy may growth by 0.2 percent the first quarter, but the data was gathered before 23 January, when the outlook on the coronavirus outbreak worsened.

“January’s PMI surveys give a clear signal that the UK economy has picked up since the general election, as a diminishing headwind from political uncertainty translated into rising business and consumer spending,” said Tim Moore, economics associate director at IHS Markit.

In the euro area, the Composite PMI, including the services and manufacturing sectors, also improved to 51.3 in January from 50.9 in December.

As of 10:06 GMT, the euro traded lower versus the British pound for a second straight session at 0.8442 after hitting a bottom at 0.8433.

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