- Service sector activity in the U.K. expanded at the slowest pace in three months in June, dampening optimism over the country’s economic outlook, industry data showed on Thursday.

In a report, market research group Markit said the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Services Purchasing Managers Index inched down to 57.7 last month from a reading of 58.6 in May. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 58.3 in June.

On the index, a level above 50.0 indicates expansion in the industry, below 50.0 indicates contraction.

Despite the disappointing headline number, June’s survey signaled the sharpest increase in new business volumes for six months.

Commenting on the report, Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at survey compilers Markit said, “Alongside an ongoing surge in construction and the largest quarterly rise in manufacturing output for 20 years, the services PMI confirms that the economy is firing on all cylinders.”

“We expect the economy to grow by 0.8% again in the second quarter, taking GDP to a new all-time high,” he added.

Following the release of that data, the pound added to losses against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD shedding 0.15% to trade at 1.7138, compared to 1.7156 ahead of the data.

Meanwhile, European stock markets remained mildly higher. London’s FTSE 100 inched up 0.3%, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.2%, France''s CAC 40 tacked on 0.4%, while Germany''s DAX added 0.25%.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger