United Kingdom service sector growth rises amid doubts

According to IHS Markit, service sector activity in the Eurozone accelerated in December to its fastest clip in more than six-and-a-half years, leaving a composite gauge for both factory and services pointing at the highest annual trend since 2006.

That means that in the final throngs of 2017, activity levels improved at the fastest pace since the recovery from the global financial crisis.

The update comes as output in the United Kingdom manufacturing industry achieved "solid growth" last month, but eased back from a near four-and-a-half-year high when separate PMI data was released on Tuesday.

In the US, the IHS Markit PMI rose to 55.1 from 53.9 in November, while the euro-area index was at a record 60.6.

The services Purchasing Managers' index rose to 55.4 in December from 54.7 in November. Exports sales, however, grew at a marginal pace.

Multi-year highs were also recorded for new export orders and order backlogs - again, two readings that suggest demand continues to strengthen.

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India's retail inflation in November breached the central bank's medium-term target of 4 percent, which could put pressure on it to raise policy rates in the coming months.

At the same time, consumer credit continued to expand at a fairly strong £1.4bn on the month.

Input costs remain elevated across a number of economies, partly reflecting higher raw material prices.

"Business optimism was subdued at levels not seen since 2013, but the improvement in new order growth in December contributed to the biggest surge in job creation since June".

"Singapore's private sector economy ended this year with its best quarterly performance in over three years", said Bernard Aw, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

"A key development to watch out for in 2018 is the potential advent of accelerating inflation", said Larry Hatheway, chief economist at GAM. New business and output growth remained strong, and firms struggled to keep up with demand.


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