UK PMI Services was finalized at 49.5 in February, up sharply from January’s 39.5. Markit said business activity was almost stable in the second month of lockdown. There was slowest drop in staffing numbers since the pandemic began. Also, optimism continued to rise in response to vaccine roll out. PMI Composite was finalized at 49.6, up from January’s 41.2.
Tim Moore, Economics Director at IHS Markit: “UK service sector activity was relatively stable in February and so it appears that the third national lockdown has seen limited spillovers to parts of the economy beyond the scope of government mandated closures… Tighter restrictions on international travel meant that export sales remained an area of weakness for the service economy… Higher fuel bills and shipping costs pushed up operating expenses in February. Service providers have mostly absorbed pressure on margins from rising input costs over the past 12 months, but their latest increase in average charges was the fastest since the start of the pandemic”.