India’s services sector activity touched an eight-month high in October driven by a significant rise in new business orders even as growth in manufacturing output eased, a Nikkei survey said.
The Nikkei Business Activity index climbed to 53.2 in October, from 51.3 in September, as fresh orders expanded at a solid pace and were most pronounced since February.
“Services companies saw a faster rise in new businesses than their manufacturing counterparts,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit, which compiled the survey.
Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Composite PMI Output index, which maps both manufacturing and services sectors, rose to 52.6 in October from 51.5 in September helped by new businesses.
A reading of 50 divides growth and contraction.
“India’s economic growth shifted into higher gear in October driven by the services sector. Although manufacturing production continued to expand, the growth eased and was sluggish by historical standards,” Lima added.
Lima noted that “the upward trend in private sector output reflected stronger inflows of incoming new works, one that was most marked since March”.
Going forward, services business sentiment regarding the 12-month business outlook remained positive in October.
Notwithstanding the growth in services activity, October data indicated that services sector employment remained unchanged. Around 98 per cent of respondents reported no change in payroll numbers since the preceding month.
“Private sector firms remained wary of costs and payroll numbers, once again, were unchanged,” Lima said.
On the prices front, the Nikkei survey said average input costs rose in both services and manufacturing sectors, albeit at a slower pace.
Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan on September 29 effected a more-than-expected interest rate cut of half a per cent to spur the economy.
Moreover, RBI has also lowered its economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.4 per cent, from its previous projection of 7.6 per cent.
The April-June quarter GDP slipped to 7 per cent, from 7.5 per cent in the preceding quarter.