Volume of services rises 1.7% in March, exceeds projections and reaches the highest level since 2015

The volume of the services sector grew 1.7% from February to March, accumulating a gain of 2.1% in the last two months.

With this result, the sector recovers the loss of 1.8% in January, reaching the highest level since May 2015 and being 7.2% above the pre-pandemic level.

When compared to March last year, services advanced 11.4%. The data are from the Monthly Service Survey (PMS) and were released today (12) by the IBGE.

The data beat the Refinitiv consensus estimates, which were up 0.7% monthly and 8.5% year-on-year.

On a monthly basis, the positive result was disseminated by all five activities investigated by the survey, with emphasis on transport (2.7%), which increased for the fifth consecutive month.

“Among the sectors that most influenced the rise in this activity is the road freight, especially that linked to electronic commerce and agribusiness. It is the main mode of cargo transport in Brazilian cities and its use has become even more pronounced after the most crucial months of the pandemic”, explains the research manager, Rodrigo Lobo.

“Another influence was passenger air transport, not only because of the increase in passenger flow, which generated higher revenues for airlines, but also because it was helped by the fall in the price of airline tickets observed in March,” he adds. . With the advance of this month, transport as a whole is 18.0% above the pre-pandemic level and reached the highest level in the historical series, which started in January 2011.

With an expansion of 1.7%, information and communication services recovered part of the 4.7% loss accumulated between December 2021 and February this year. The sector exerted the second greatest influence on the overall index. “This March growth does not eliminate the loss of the previous three months, but the sector still operates 10.5% above the pre-pandemic level. What most impacted the increase in March was the growth in revenues from companies from portals, content providers and internet search tools, software development and licensing and information technology consulting”, he analyzes.

The professional, administrative and complementary sectors (1.5%), provided to families (2.4%) and other services (1.6%) complete the list of those that grew in March. “Among the five activities investigated, only the services provided to families did not surpass the pre-pandemic level. This is because of the magnitude of impact that this sector has suffered from the need for social isolation, reduced displacement of people and total or partial closure of services considered non-essential”, remembers Lobo. Among the activities that influenced the growth of the sector are restaurants, hotels and catering services. Even with the advance, services provided to families are 12.0% below the level of February 2020.

From February to March, 24 of the 27 Federation Units followed the growth trend. Among them, the biggest impacts came from São Paulo (2.7%), Minas Gerais (6.4%), Federal District (10.3%), Santa Catarina (4.2%), Rio Grande do Sul (2 .6%) and Rio de Janeiro (0.8%). The main negative influence came from Mato Grosso (-3.0%).

The research manager explains that the current growth of services differs from that observed at the time when the sector began to recover from the most intense losses of the pandemic.

“In retrospect, we have a stronger recovery that goes from June to November 2020 and then a slower pace of growth that continues until August of last year, when the sector accumulated 9.1%. From September to March 2022, there is an accumulated gain of 3.4%, that is, there is an even greater deceleration, due to the higher comparison base since the beginning of the recovery of services”, he says.

Sector accumulates gain of 9.4% in the first quarter

In accumulated terms in the first quarter of the year, the service sector grew 9.4% and four of the five activities showed positive rates. Among them, the highlight was the transport sector, auxiliary transport services and mail (15.5%), which was mainly impacted by the increase in revenues from companies operating in road freight transport, air transport of passengers and collective road passengers.

In the case of services provided to families, which increased by 30.6% in the quarter, the reason for this increase is the movement of hotel, restaurant and buffet companies. Other advances came from the professional, administrative and complementary (8.0%) and information and communication (3.8%) segments. The sector of other services (-2.3%) was the only one to fall in this indicator. This retraction is related to a decrease in the revenue of companies that work in the recovery of plastic materials, securities brokerages, management of exchanges and organized over-the-counter markets, among other varieties.

“The other services sector was the first to show a faster recovery from the effects of the pandemic. The other four took longer to recover. That’s why it has a higher basis for comparison”, analyzes the researcher.

When compared to March last year, the positive advance of 11.4% was also followed by four of the five activities. The main influence on total growth came from the transport sector (17.2%). Other advances came from services provided to families (62.2%); of professionals, administrative and complementary (9.1%); and information and communication (4.0%). Also in this indicator, only the sector of other services (-4.3%) had a negative rate.

Wolf explains that the double-digit results are justified by the low base of comparison. “In March 2021, we had the second wave of Covid, when there were decrees establishing the closure of non-essential services and discouraging the displacement of people. Therefore, in March, in the interannual comparison, there are very high rates for activities such as air transport, for example”, he explains.

Tourist activities grow 4.5% in March

The index of tourist activities grew 4.5% in March, after an accumulated decrease of 0.9% in the first two months of the year. Even with the increase, the tourism segment is still 6.5% below the pre-pandemic level. “The indicator follows in the wake of services provided to families and transport, also growing in March, influenced by the increase in air transport, restaurants, hotels and catering services”, he says.

The 12 locations surveyed grew compared to February. Among them, those that most contributed to the increase in the general index were São Paulo (7.0%), Bahia (8.0%), Santa Catarina (11.8%) and Rio de Janeiro (2.9%).

(with IBGE news agency)

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