Italy’s service sector growth eased at a faster-than-expected pace in December, survey figures from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.
The services Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, fell to 52.3 in December from November’s 9-month high of 53.3. Economists had expected the index to drop to 52.6.
However, any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.
Output grew at a weaker rate in December amid solid rise in the level of new orders. Firms raised their staffing numbers for the third straight month, but the rate of job creation was only marginal.
On the price front, input price inflation accelerated to a five-month high in December, driven by higher fuel prices and salary pressures. Despite this, companies lowered output charges on strong competitive pressures.
“Italy looks to be in for a bumpy ride during 2017, and IHS Markit forecasts GDP growth to ease back from a predicted 0.9 percent in 2016 to just 0.4 percent,” Phil Smith, Economist at IHS Markit, said.
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