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India Manufacturing Growth Remains Robust

India's manufacturing growth slowed slightly in December, but the pace remained strong amid robust sales, data from IHS Markit showed on Wednesday.

The headline Nikkei manufacturing purchasing managers' index, or PMI, fell to 53.2 in December from 54.0 in November. Any reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the sector.

The latest reading was the second highest in 2018 and contributed to highest quarterly average since the third quarter of fiscal 2012, IHS Markit said.

New work grew at the second-quickest pace since December 2017 amid expanded client bases, stronger demand and fruitful advertising. Export sales grew for the fourteenth month in a row.

The rise in production was among the quickest seen in 2018 and greater sales and technological progress supported the increase in output.

Employment continued to expand in December, at the slowest pace in four months, while backlogs were accumulated to the quickest extent since May.

On the price front, overall cost burdens increased, but the rate of inflation eased to a thirty four-month low.

Easing cost inflationary pressures led to unchanged selling prices, thus ending sixteen-month sequence of rises in output prices.

"These signs of easing inflationary pressures indicate that we're likely to see the RBI adopt an accommodative monetary policy stance in early 2019," IHS Markit economist Pollyanna De Lima said.

Business optimism moderated from mid-quarter and was subdued, though companies predicted that marketing initiatives, capacity expansions and forecasts of further improvements in demand will boost output in the coming year.

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