The Italian services sector contracted for a fourth consecutive month in November, albeit at a slower rate than the month before, a survey showed on Tuesday, signalling persistent weakness in the euro zone's third-largest economy.
The HCOB Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for Italian services came in at 49.5 in November, up from October's 12-month low of 47.7 but still below the 50 level that marks growth in activity.
The result was above the median forecast of 48.2 in a Reuters survey of analysts.
"Panellist often mentioned ongoing geopolitical tensions, and subdued demand conditions added to economic uncertainty," HCOB said in its report.
The new business sub-index climbed to 48.3 from 46.9 in October, but still pointed to an ongoing contraction. However, the employment indicator edged up to 50.2 from 49.8.
The PMI for Italy's smaller manufacturing sector, released on Friday, pointed to declining activity in November for an eighth consecutive month, and at the steepest rate since June.
The composite Purchasing Managers' Index combining services and manufacturing stood at 48.1 in November, up from 47.0 in October but still below the key 50 threshold for a sixth straight month, Tuesday's survey showed.
The Italian economy grew by a marginal 0.1% in the third quarter from the previous three months, national statistics bureau ISTAT said last week, after contracting by 0.4% in the April-June period.
ISTAT said on Nov. 10 that activity would slow in the next few months, pointing to a weak fourth quarter. (Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Susan Fenton)