The UK's services firms have seen their strongest quarterly growth in 16 years, according to the latest survey snapshot of the economically dominant sector.
The Markit/Cips Purchasing Managers' Index eased slightly to 60.3 in September, but remained well above the 50 reading which separates growth from contraction. Over the third quarter of this year, the index averaged its highest level since 1997.
The survey also showed that services firms' expectations of future business grew at a faster rate than in August. Incoming new business also continued to expand strongly. Britain's services sector accounts for around three-quarters of the economy. Recent PMI surveys of the manufacturing and construction sectors have also indicated expansion.