Britain’s services sector grew faster than expected in February, raising hopes that the economy could narrowly avoid sliding into a triple-dip recession.
The monthly snapshot of business conditions from CIPS/Markit showed the sector – which accounts for three-quarters of Britain’s economic output – growing for the second month running.
The closely watched purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for services jumped to 51.8 from 51.5 in January, beating expectations of a reading of 51. A figure above 50 suggests the sector is expanding.
That could bring the country back from the brink. The UK economy shrank by 0.3% in the final three months of 2012; if output falls again in the first three months of 2013, Britain would officially drop into a triple-dip. Downbeat reports from manufacturing and construction made that outcome look increasingly likely, but the dominant services sector could lift Britain’s economic fortunes.
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