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Italy service sector returns to modest growth in August - PMI

·1-min read
People are seen at an employment centre in Milan

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's service sector grew slightly in August after contracting the month before as inflationary pressures eased somewhat, a survey showed on Monday.

S&P Global's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for services rose to 50.5 in August from 48.4 in July, climbing back above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

The result was above the median forecast of 48.2 in a Reuters survey of eight analysts and may help allay fears of a recession over the second half of this year in the euro zone's third-largest economy.

The sub-indexes for both input prices and prices charged by service providers declined compared with the month before.

New business was broadly stable, after shrinking in July for the first time since January.

The PMI for Italy's smaller manufacturing sector, released on Thursday, showed contraction for a second month running in August as firms reported shrinking demand and declining factory production.

The composite Purchasing Managers' Index combining services and manufacturing stood at 49.6 In August, up from 47.7 in July but still pointing to very modest contraction.

Italy's economy expanded by a strong 1.1% in the second quarter from the previous three months, data showed on Thursday, but analysts expect a sharp slowdown over the rest of the year as firms and households struggle with soaring energy costs.

(Reporting by Gavin Jones, editing by Hugh Lawson)