Prospect of Brexit continues to mute British services sector: business group

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-14 06:06:52|Editor: Zhou Xin
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LONDON, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- British economioc growth in services sector continues to remain muted by the prospect of Brexit, figures released on Friday showed.

The latest quarterly economic forecast by the industry representative body the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that the dominant services sector of the UK economy, accounting for about 77 percent of GDP, growth and sales remained flat during the third quarter of the year.

"The services sector remains under pressure, and with most indicators broadly static in the quarter, the sector has yet to recover from the loss of momentum suffered in the wake of the EU referendum," Suren Thiru, BCC head of economics, told Xinhua.

The services sector driven by consumer spending has been the main cause of UK economic growth over the past few years, but inflation has eaten into disposable income.

The BCC survey found that the proportion of manufacturing firms reporting improved domestic sales and orders both rose in the quarter to their highest levels since the first quarter of 2015.

Export sales and orders also improved, as stronger recent economic growth in key markets increased demand, notably the eurozone where official figures show GDP growth at 0.6 percent against the current UK rate of 0.3 percent.

Almost all services indicators remain below their pre-EU referendum levels, with consumer-focused businesses reporting weaker growth rates compared to business-to-business firms.

The survey also showed that with UK unemployment at 4.3 percent, a low not seen for just over 40 years, and employment at a record high businesses were having difficulty recruiting staff.

Almost three-quarters of manufacturers reported difficulties hiring, and in services, the percentage rose to its highest level since the start of 2016, and stands at three times the long-term average.