China service sector expands at a slower pace in July - official PMI

BEIJING, July 31 (Reuters) - Activity in China’s services sector in July expanded for the fifth month in a row but at a slower pace, official data showed on Friday, suggesting consumer confidence is recovering even as the country battles the most aggressive return of the novel coronavirus in months.

The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 54.2 from 54.4 in June, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

China’s services sector, which includes many smaller, private companies, has been slower to recover from the health crisis than manufacturing, with heavy job losses, pay cuts and fears of a second wave of infections keeping consumers cautious.

The official June composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services activity, fell to 54.1 from June’s 54.2. (Reporting by Gabriel Crossley Editing by Shri Navaratnam)