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UK Services slightly better – All eyes on BoE at 12PM

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Britain’s economy looks set for “steady but sluggish” growth over the coming months, after a closely watched business survey showed activity in the dominant services sector picked up only slightly in July.

The figures add to signs that Britain’s economy is struggling to regain momentum after its slowest start to the year since 2012, and bolster the case for the Bank of England to keep interest rates on hold later today.

The IHS Markit/CIPS services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.8 in July from June’s four-month low of 53.4, slightly above economists’ forecasts in a poll but below its long-run average.

The services PMI follows more upbeat numbers on Tuesday from the much smaller manufacturing sector, and weak construction figures on Wednesday.

The longer-term outlook is also weak, with service-sector firms’ expectations for the year ahead stronger than in June but still among the weakest readings since late 2012.

BoE data is due at 12PM GMT – depending on how the members vote this could be a market mover.

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