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The services sector in Japan continued to contract in August, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank showed on Friday with a PMI score of 42.9.

That’s down from 47.4 in July, and it moves further beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Both the activity and new orders indices signaled the fastest declines since May 2020, as businesses grappled with a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections and subsequent restrictions.

That said, firms were not deterred from increasing capacity ahead of a predicted return in demand, as service providers noted a renewed rise in employment levels. Businesses remained confident that activity would rise over the coming 12 months, despite the degree of optimism softening to the joint-lowest since January.

The survey also showed that the composite index fell to 45.5 in August from 48.8 in July.


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