BRASILIA, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Brazil’s services sector bounced back in July, as a jump in tourism activity helped offset a decline in transportation, government data showed on Friday, adding to signs that the country’s steep recession may be starting to ease.
Services activity rose 0.7 percent in July from June after seasonal adjustments following a 0.2 percent decline in the previous month, the statistics agency IBGE said.
The sector shrank 4.5 percent from July 2015 , compared with a 3.4 percent year-on-year drop in June, underscoring the depth of Brazil’s downturn.
Brazil is undergoing its severest recession in at least eight decades. Rising unemployment and stubbornly high inflation have hampered services firms, which account for more than 60 percent of the country’s economic activity.
However, in July, tourism activity grew 0.7 percent from June, up from a 0.6 percent decline in the prior month, the IBGE data showed. That helped offset a 0.3 percent decline in transportation and mail services.
Professional and administrative services rose 0.3 percent while telecommunications and information services were unchanged.
Brazil’s economy contracted 3.85 percent in 2015 and is on course to shrink 3.2 percent this year, according to the median forecast in a central bank survey of economists. It is seen growing by 1.2 percent in 2017.
Some recent economic indicators have pointed to a moderation in Brazil’s recession. Investments grew in the second quarter as companies raised spending on machinery, and consumer and business confidence indexes have risen off record lows. (Reporting by Silvio Cascione Editing by W Simon)