IHS Markit’s Business Activity Index for services stood at 58.0 in August, unchanged from July when it grew at its fastest rate in 14 years and significantly above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
Despite the record, the result was slightly below the median forecast in a Reuters survey of 12 analysts, which had pointed to a reading of 58.5.
Boosted by the easing of coronavirus restrictions, Italy’s service sector is now fast catching up with the smaller manufacturing sector, which has seen healthy growth for the last year.
Factories, unlike many services businesses, remained open despite the COVID-19 emergency.
The sub-index for new business in the service sector declined in August to 57.3 from 57.8 the month before.
The composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for services and manufacturing increased in August to 59.1 from 58.6 in July, climbing further above the 50 level and posting its highest reading since June 2006.
Photo: EPA-EFE/ANDREA MEROLA