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Financial News: Italy Services Sector Growth At 6-month High

Italy Services Sector Growth At 6-month High

04/03/2019 - 09:20:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Italy's services sector grew more than expected in March at the fastest pace in six months, driven by broad-based improvement, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Wednesday.

The services purchasing managers' index, or PMI, rose to 53.1 in March from 50.4 in February. Economists had forecast a score of 50.6.

Any reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the sector. The latest reading was the highest since last September.

New business rose at the fastest pace in six months in March, while new export orders contracted for the ninth month in a row.

Job creation among service providers rose modestly and work outstanding grew for the first time in three-months, mainly due to an increase in new orders.

Selling prices fell for the fourth consecutive month, thanks to efforts to boost demand and discounts. Input cost inflation dropped slightly, but remained marked partly due to the latest rise in cost burdens.

Business sentiment improved to an eleven-month high in March and panelists linked optimism to new product developments, expectations of greater sales activity and increased capacity.

The Composite Output Index rose to 51.5 in March from 49.6 in February. The Italian private sector grew for the fist time in six months.

Private sector growth was largely driven by services In March, manufacturing contracted for an eighth consecutive month.

"Compared to their manufacturing counterparts, business activity among Italian service providers appears to be picking up steam and if continued could potentially help to lift the economy out of recession," Amritpal Virdee, economist at IHS Markit, said.

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