U.K. Consumer Services Grow at Fastest Pace in a Year, CBI Says

(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s services sectors, making up the biggest part of the economy, saw growth improve this month, helped by a rebound at restaurants, bars and other consumer industries.

After faster inflation meant a rough ride for household spending in 2017, the figures from the Confederation of British Industry suggest some improvement. Consumer services growth was the strongest in a year, while confidence also picked up.

The report also showed that business services such as accountancy and marketing expanded at the fastest pace in more than two years in February.

The U.K. economy is lagging behind most other advanced nations as the decision to leave the European Union damps investment and fans inflation. Growth in the last three months of 2017 was revised down to 0.4 percent last week, and the CBI said the expansion will remain “subdued” this year.

“It’s great to see the services sector start the year off on a firm footing,” said Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI. “But there are still some telling signs that the underlying challenges for business, professional and consumer services firms have not gone away. Investment plans are muted amid uncertainty, and plans for expansion among business and professional services firms have turned downwards.”

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