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Italy's services economy remained in expansion territory at the start of the third quarter, according to the latest PMI® survey data from IHS Markit. Furthermore, the pace of job creation signalled was the fastest since August 2007 amid stronger growth in incoming new business. However, firms' optimism towards the year-ahead outlook for business activity eased to the lowest for 32 months.
The headline Markit Business Activity Index - which is based on a single question asking respondents to report on the actual change in business activity at their companies compared to one month ago - moved to 52.0 in July, up fractionally from June's 51.9. That pointed to the continuation of a modest pace of growth in business activity that was broadly in line with the average over 2016 so far. The best performing sub-sector was Renting & Business Activities, followed by Financial Intermediation. Reflective of the ongoing upturn in the services economy, businesses raised employment levels for the tenth month in succession during July. Furthermore, having accelerated since June, the rate of job creation reached the fastest seen for nearly nine years. July's survey highlighted stronger demand for services in Italy, with inflows of new business having increased amid reports of new clients being acquired. The rate of growth in new work was at a five-month high, though only moderate overall.
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