Brazil services activity up 2.6% in July, less than expected

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a money exchange office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Services activity in Brazil rose in July for a second straight month, figures showed on Friday, but the pace of growth was slower than forecast, suggesting the economy’s rebound from the worst of the COVID-19 may not be quite so entrenched.

The sector expanded by a seasonally-adjusted 2.6% from the previous month, government statistics agency IBGE said, less than the 3.1% rate of growth economists in a Reuters poll had forecast.

Services sector output in July was down 11.9% from a year ago, IBGE said, more than the 10.4% decline forecast in the Reuters poll.

Four of the five sectors surveyed by IBGE showed increases in activity from the previous month, most notably a 2.2% rise in information and communications services, and a 2.3% increase in transport and transport-related services, IBGE said.

After surging 12.2% in June, services provided to families fell 3.9% in July, IBGE said.

June’s rate of expansion in the services sector was revised up slightly to 5.2% from 5.0%. The figures mean that in the first seven months of the year, services sector activity in Latin America’s largest economy fell 8.9% from the same period in 2019, IBGE said.

The level of service sector activity is still 22.2% lower than the peak in November 2014, IBGE said.

Reporting by Jamie McGeever