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UPDATE 1-Brazil's service sector rebounds in April, still below pre-pandemic levels

·1 min read

(Adds detail on April figures, context)

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, June 11 (Reuters) - Brazil's services sector rebounded in April, official figures showed on Friday, though it failed to recover all the ground lost in March and activity remained below levels in February last year before the pandemic struck.

The services sector grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in April from the month before, statistics agency IBGE said. March's 4.0% decline was revised to a 3.1% fall.

Not only was April's rebound fairly tepid, it was not broad-based. Only two of the five sub-sectors surveyed grew, IBGE said, led by a 9.3% rise in services to families and households, and a 2.5% rise in information and communication services.

The figures mean activity in the sector as a whole remains 1.5% below the level of February 2020, IBGE said.

Services account for about 70% of all activity in Brazil's economy. The sector is 13.1% smaller than its peak in 2014.

Services sector output in April was up a non-seasonally adjusted 19.8% from the same month last year, more than the median forecast for an 18.2% increase in a Reuters poll of economists.

April last year marked the economy's nadir due to social isolation and quarantine measures to tackle the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Less stringent lockdown measures were taken in March this year to combat the second wave.

Activity in the first four months of the year was up a non-seasonally adjusted 3.7% from the same period last year, but activity in the 12 months through April was down 5.4% from the same period last year, IBGE said. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by David Clarke)