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Restaurants are no longer deserted
Restaurants are no longer deserted

Services catch up

In Sept, though, the Nikkei-IHS Markit PMI for services registered a jump to 49.8 from 41.8 the month before, mirroring a similar bounce in manufacturing, the PMI for which hit a more than eight-year high

The laggard of our post-covid economy may be on the verge of exiting contraction mode at long last. While August saw a range of production indicators pep up, the services sector had been unable to cast off its shroud of gloom. In September, though, the Nikkei-IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for services registered a jump to 49.8 from 41.8 the month before, mirroring a similar bounce in manufacturing, the PMI for which hit a more than eight-year high. At this rate of recovery, even services will likely be in expansion zone, with a PMI above 50, by the end of October.

As most services tend to involve some degree of contact between sellers and buyers, the sector was bound to suffer the brunt of covid-safety restrictions. However, official curbs have mostly been lifted, with their use left to the discretion of customers. Food delivery has been gaining and, somewhat surprisingly, so has air travel. Restaurants are no longer deserted. Even cinema halls are set to reopen soon. All this is good for business. Whether it’s also good for our battle against the pandemic is another matter. However, perhaps it’s best to let people judge their risks.

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