Service sector recovery weakens in November: PMI

04 Décembre, 2020, 03:57 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Services PMI signals rise in activity for a second month

The largest contributor to GDP (Gross Domestic Product), services, continued to march on the recovery path during November as the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the sector recorded 53.7.

The sector remained above the 50-percent threshold indicating expansion, but analysts warned the second consecutive monthly decrease could mean the sector is in for a renewed, pandemic-fueled downturn, after contracting sharply when Covid-19 first struck the United States.

The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index, which gives an independent snapshot of operating conditions in the services sector, rose to 57.8 in November from 56.8 the previous month, hitting the second-highest level since April 2010, below only June's 58.4 reading.

The world's third-largest economy has been gradually recovering from a virus-induced slump earlier this year, but it is expected to take years before it will return to pre-pandemic levels, especially within the service sector, which contributes almost 70% of its gross domestic product.

The latest reading of PMI pointed to a solid pace of expansion, says IHS Markit, the economic research agency.

Respondents to the November ISM survey were anxious about the current business climate.

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The improvement in the survey between the flash and the final data was concentrated in the business activity index, with little change in the expectations component.

England's November lockdown resulted in a smaller blow to United Kingdom services activity than initial estimates suggested, while news of a coronavirus vaccine improved sales and employment expectations for next year, according to survey data. The slowdown came as some European markets entered into stricter lockdowns to combat a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Optimism across United Kingdom companies has risen, despite the latest Covid-19 restrictions pushing activity down last month.

Out of the 18 service sector categories, 14 reported growth in November, including transportation and warehousing, management and support services, health care and social assistance, hotel and food service, construction and retail trade.

Companies hired additional workers, a first in nine months, but net recruitment remained moderate. However, a pickup in inflationary pressures may threaten the recovery.

Confidence regarding the business activity in the next 12-months fell to its weakest in the series history. Positive sentiment was boosted by hopes that a vaccine for Covid-19 will be rolled out. The overall degree of optimism improved to a nine-month high.

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