By Jonathan Davies

Growth in the UK's services sector fell to its lowest pace in 27 months in August, according to a closely watched survey.

The Markit purchasing managers' index (PMI) slumped to 55.6 in August, down from 57.4 in July. Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

It's the slowest growth since April 2013, and on a quarterly basis, growth is at its slowest since the second quarter of 2013.

However, Markit did stress that despite the slowing growth, the UK's services sector has still grown for 32 consecutive months - the second longest period of growth on record.

The UK's services sector accounts for roughly 70% of the country's GDP, making it essential the economy.

Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit, said: “Even after allowing for usual seasonal influences, August saw an unexpectedly sharp slowing in the pace of economic growth. The services PMI came in well below even the most pessimistic of economists’ forecasts and follows disappointing news of a stagnation in the manufacturing sector earlier in the week.

“Although construction industry growth remained resilient, the three PMI surveys collectively are pointing to the weakest monthly expansion since May 2013.

“As such, the economy looks set to grow by 0.5% in the third quarter, down from 0.7% in the three months to June, with the ongoing upturn almost entirely dependent on the service sector."