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04.09.2019 18:19

UK service sector slows further in August - ING

James Smith, the developed markets economist at ING, notes that UK services PMI stood at 50.6 in August, suggesting that the sector is barely growing. 

  • "IHS/Markit note that these PMI levels are usually consistent with a fall in output of -0.1% during the third quarter. Given the prospect of further volatility in the inventory numbers, this seems unlikely at this stage – we may see firms build stocks again ahead of the 31 October
  • deadline, albeit at a slower pace than back in the first quarter (inventory levels are still reasonably high). This recorded as a positive for economic output, although of course is ultimately a temporary phenomenon.  
  • However, there’s little doubt that the underlying pace of growth is likely to stay fairly lackluster. Investment has been more-or-less consistently declining since the start of 2018, and this is a trend that is likely to persist. While the outcome of the coming 24-hours will be critical for the Brexit process, it seems unlikely at this stage that this week’s events will fully take the ‘no deal’ risk off the table.
  • This uncertainty will continue to limit appetite to expand, and as firms continue to ramp up contingency activities in the run-up to the October deadline, resources available for possible investment projects will also be diminished.
  • The upshot is that underlying growth is likely to remain fairly lackluster over coming months. That said, barring a 'no deal' exit in October, we think it's still too early to be pencilling in UK rate cuts over coming months. Equally however, the prospect of further gradual tightening is becoming increasingly distant."


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