ROME, July 1 – Italian manufacturing activity shrank in June for the 21st month running but less steeply than the month before, a survey showed on Wednesday, as the economy struggles to emerge from one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 47.5 from 45.4 in May, remaining below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
The median forecast in a Reuters survey of 18 analysts had pointed to a reading of 47.7.
April’s reading of 31.1 was the lowest since IHS Markit launched its survey in 1997, reflecting the closure of most factories in a lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Plants were allowed to reopen in May.
IHS Markit’s sub-index for output at manufacturers rose to 50.8 in June from 47.5 in May, pointing to increasing output for the first time since July 2018.
The euro zone’s third-largest economy shrank by 5.3% in the first quarter from the previous three months, the steepest fall in gross domestic product since ISTAT’s current series began in 1995.
The government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party forecasts a full-year GDP decline of 8%, but most forecasters expect an even steeper contraction.
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For further information, please phone IHS Markit on +800 6275 4800 or email [email protected] (Reporting By Gavin Jones; Editing by Catherine Evans)