British services sector growth at slowest since September 2016

'Malaysia's manufacturing activity to continue to expand in 1H'

Growth in the United States services sector slowed a little in January, according to final data released on Monday. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

After zooming to a five-year high in December at 54.7, the Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index or PMI fell to 52.4 last month as the base effect wore off.

Activity in Japan's service sector grew at the fastest pace in three months in January as new business picked up, suggesting domestic demand is improving and putting the country's economic recovery on more balanced footing, according to a private survey released on Monday. Both service providers and manufacturers registered a further increase in new business in January amid reports of firmer client demand.

Mr Williamson also noted: "While the fourth quarter PMI readings were historically consistent with the economy growing at a resilient quarterly rate of 0.4-0.5 per cent, in line with the recent GDP estimate, the January number signals a growth rate of just under 0.3 per cent".

According to IHS Markit, the Asean manufacturing economy also started 2018 on a positive note, with the Nikkei Asean Manufacturing PMI indicating a return to growth in January after a subdued end to a year ago.

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The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index rose to 54.7 last month, up from 53.9 in December.

Businesses transferred some escalating cost pressures to consumers with both input and output prices rising at a faster pace in January from the previous month.

Suchita Dutta, executive director of the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), said the second half of the fiscal usually sees spike in job numbers in the e-commerce, healthcare and hospitality sector due to festive season. Inflation and interest rate expectations that shift erratically are bad for economies and markets.

"January PMI data shows continued growth in Japanese service sector output", said Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

He said: "The data should prompt investors to reassess their view that the chance of the Bank raising interest rates again as soon as May is as high as 50%".

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