U.K. services PMI slipped to its lowest level in eight months in January, falling to 58.3 from 58.8 in December and missing consensus for a rise to 59.
However, business confidence is at the highest level since March 2010, backlogs rose to the greatest degree since May 1997 and put pressure on capacity, and employment growth accelerated again.
The trends should ensure that the expansion remains strong in February.
Inflationary pressures and wage growth remain muted, Markit says, adding that this provides the BOE with continued room "to keep policy loose for longer while the economy continues its recovery."
January's PMI data indicates that GDP will grow 0.8% in Q1.
The pound is -0.3% at $1.6282, while the FTSE 100 is +0.4%. (PR)