United Kingdom economic growth 'will struggle to pick up the pace'
The UK'S economic growth will struggle to pick up pace in the first quarter of 2018 despite services sector output unexpectedly reaching a four-month high in February.
The latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services purchasing managers' index (PMI) hit 54.5 last month, up from 53.0 in January and above economists' expectations of 53.2.
A reading above 50 indicates growth. Despite a brighter performance from services, economists expect the UK economy to grow by 0.4% for the first three months of this year.
The powerhouse services sector, which accounts for around 80% of UK economic growth, was bolstered by easing cost pressures and the fastest jump in new work since May last year.
The update comes after manufacturing drifted to an eight-month low in February, while the construction sector unexpectedly rebounded but remained under pressure from weak confidence and political uncertainty.