Covid-19 outbreak hits mainland services sector

Activity in China’s services sector slipped into contraction in August, official data showed on Tuesday, as Covid-19 curbs weighed on consumption in the world’s second-largest economy.

The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was 47.5 in August versus 53.3 in July, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

Though slower to recover from the pandemic than manufacturing, a gradual improvement in consumption in recent months had boosted the services sector. But a Covid-19 outbreak of the more infectious Delta strain led to strict containment measures, weighing on business activity and spending.

The official August composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services activity, fell to 48.9 from July’s 52.4. (Reuters)