Britain’s economy appeared to steal a march on its European counterparts yesterday, as new data showed its services sector returned to growth in May while that of the eurozone remained in negative territory.

The Cips/Markit purchasing managers’ index for the UK in May showed the largest one-month jump in its history, rising to 51.7 from 48.7 – the sixth consecutive rise. A reading above 50 indicates positive growth. It was the first time the index had ventured above 50 since last May.

'The UK services sector has bounced back much quicker than expected, demonstrating that it really is the engine of the modern economy,' said Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, which co-sponsors the index.

Financial Times