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July 3, 2020, 9:27 a.m. EDT

French, Spanish services sectors return to growth

By Paul Hannon

The services sectors in France and Spain returned to growth in June, while those of Germany and Italy saw much smaller declines in activity than in recent months, according to surveys of purchasing managers published Friday.

The surveys suggest that the eurozone economy is in recovery, with most economists forecasting a jump in growth in the three months through September after lockdowns intended to contain the novel coronavirus led to an unprecedented contraction in the second quarter.

Data firm IHS Markit said the services Purchasing Managers Index for the eurozone rose to 48.3 in June from 30.5 in May. A reading below 50.0 points to a decline in activity, while a reading above that level points to an increase.

The final June reading was higher than a preliminary estimate, largely because the PMI for Germany was revised to 47.3 from 45.8.

"The upturn signals a remarkably swift turnaround in the eurozone economy's plight amid the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

The services PMI for Spain jumped to 50.2 from 27.9 in May, while the PMI for France rose to 50.7 from 31.1, pointing to a return to growth in the eurozone's second- and fourth-largest economies.

The eurozone's composite PMI--an aggregate measure of activity in the services and manufacturing sectors--rose to 48.5 from 31.9 in May, having been revised from the 47.5 preliminary estimate.

In the U.K., the services PMI rose to 47.1 from 29.0.

Write to Paul Hannon at paul.hannon@wsj.com

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