Italian service sector growth slows in September – PMI

Growth in Italy’s service sector slowed for the second month running in September, a survey showed on Wednesday, suggesting recently brisk economic activity may be losing some momentum.

The Markit/ADACI Business Activity Index for services companies dropped to 53.2 from 55.1 in August, remaining well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction but posting its lowest reading since March.

A Reuters poll of 14 analysts had pointed to a much smaller decline to 54.9.

The sub-index for new work at businesses from insurers to hairdressers fell in September to 53.2 from 55.0 to post its lowest reading since January, although the sub-index for service sector employment rose from the month before.

Markit’s sister survey for the manufacturing sector released on Monday showed activity remained buoyant in September but did not accelerate as most analysts had expected.

The composite PMI for services and manufacturing declined from 55.8 in August to 54.3 – still a healthy reading, but the lowest since March.

Buoyancy in monthly PMI data has accompanied an improving outlook for the economy overall since gross domestic product growth (GDP) picked up around the end of last year.

The government last month raised its forecast for this year’s GDP growth to 1.5 percent – which is strong by Italian standards.
Source: Reuters (Writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Hugh Lawson)