U.K. companies are feeling the strain from the upcoming European Union referendum, with a gauge of services falling to its lowest level in more than three years in April. Markit Economics said its services Purchasing Managers Index dropped to 52.3 from 53.7. While that’s above the 50 level that divides expansion from contraction, it’s the weakest since February 2013 and below the 53.5 median forecast of economists. The slump follows bigger-than-expected declines in Markit’s manufacturing and construction surveys earlier this week. The reports indicate growth of just 0.1 percent in April, down from 0.4 percent in the first quarter. Bank of England officials have said they will interpret economic data around the referendum with caution. The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee will announce its next interest-rate decision and publish new forecasts on May 12.
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