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Italy factory activity grows for fourth month running in October -PMI

ROME, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Italian manufacturing activity expanded for a fourth month running in October and at a faster rate than the month before, a survey showed on Monday, as the economy continued to recover following a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 53.8, rising from 53.2 in September and moving further above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

The October reading was the highest since March 2018 and stronger than the median forecast of 53.3 in a Reuters survey of 7 analysts.

Italy’s PMI index slumped to a record low of 31.1 in April, reflecting the closure of most factories in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19 which hit the country in late February.

Plants were allowed to reopen in May, and the index has now climbed for six months running and been above 50 for the last four.

Italian gross domestic product jumped a much stronger-than-expected 16.1% in the third quarter from the previous three months, data showed on Friday, reflecting the end of the lockdown.

However, the recovery now risks being derailed by a surge of COVID-19 infections hitting Italy and many other European countries. Rome is forecasting a full-year economic contraction of 9% this year due to the epidemic. (Reporting By Gavin Jones; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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