Latest data released by Markit - 5 May 2021

  • Prior 48.6
  • Composite PMI 51.2 vs 53.0 expected
  • Prior 51.9

While the rest of the region saw more upbeat performances in April, Italian business activity struggled as the services sector contracted further - missing on estimates. New orders and exports showed declines to start Q2, with the impact of tighter virus restrictions still being felt last month. Markit notes that:

"The downturn in the Italian service sector continued into Q2, with the headline Business Activity Index falling to a three-month low and signaling a quicker rate of contraction. Demand conditions remained relatively muted as virus-related restrictions persisted. Meanwhile, the sombre demand environment was not confined to the Italian market, as marked reductions in exports were also recorded.

"Subsequently, firms made further cuts to their workforces in April, with the rate of reduction the sharpest since January.

"On a brighter note, a faster uptick in manufacturing production outweighed the decline in services activity, with private sector growth now extending to three consecutive months. Although latest data highlights ongoing concerns in services, firms are welcoming the gradual relaxing of COVID-19 measures and expect stronger demand conditions to follow."