ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s services sector returned to growth in November after contracting the previous month, a survey showed on Wednesday, beating forecasts and hinting at the possibility for growth in the fourth quarter.
The IHS Markit Business Activity Index for services rose to 50.3 in November from 49.2 in October, barely above the 50 line which separates growth from contraction.
In October, the services sector had contracted for the first time since May 2016. Italy’s economy shrank in the third quarter for the first time in four years.
November’s PMI exceeded the consensus view in a Reuters poll of nine analysts which matched last month’s figure.
The sub-index for new business in the service sector edged down to 50.4 from 50.5 in October.
IHS Markit’s sister survey for November manufacturing, published on Monday, showed the sector had contracted for a second consecutive month.
The composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for services and manufacturing was stable at 49.3, IHS Markit said.
Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Hugh Lawson