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The UK economy slowed last month

Britain’s economy slowed sharply in January, according to a survey which cast doubt on growing expectations among investors that the Bank of England might be gearing up to raise interest rates again in the coming months.

The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the country’s dominant services sector slowed to a 16-month low of 53.0 from 54.2 in December.

The reading was at the bottom end of a range of forecasts in a poll of economists and looked likely to widen the gap between Britain’s slow-growing economy as it heads for Brexit and other countries gaining from a bounce-back in global growth.

Combined with last week’s weaker-than-expected surveys for the manufacturing and construction sectors, Today’s report suggested the world’s sixth-biggest economy grew last month at its slowest pace since shortly after the Brexit vote in 2016.

Britain’s economy grew faster than expected at the end of 2017, and financial markets have put a 50-50 chance on a BoE rate hike in May.

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