Italy factory activity posts fastest growth in 21 years – PMI

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Italian manufacturing activity expanded for the ninth month running in March and at the fastest rate in 21 years, a survey showed on Thursday, despite ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 59.8, rising from 56.9 in February and moving further above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

The figure – the highest since March 2000 – exactly matched the median forecast in a Reuters survey of 15 analysts.

The new orders sub-index climbed to 61.3 in March from 56.5 the month before.

The economy contracted by 8.9% in 2020, national statistics institute Istat said in March, hit by COVID-19 restrictions.

Rome has pencilled in a rebound of 6% for this year, but with the pandemic continuing, the government will revise this closer to 4% when it issues new forecasts this month, three sources close to the matter told Reuters.


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