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India's Service Sector Expands Strongly In January

India's service sector expanded at a robust pace in January, with surging demand underpinning the fastest increases in new orders and output for seven years, survey data from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 55.5 in January from 53.3 in December. A score above 50 suggests expansion. The indicator signaled the strongest upturn in output for seven years.

New work intakes expanded to the greatest extent in seven years. Sales increased across the five monitored sub-sectors, and more markedly in Consumer Services.

With new business growth ticking higher, services companies continued to add to their workforces.

On the price front, data showed that the overall rate of cost inflation was sharpest in close to seven years. Consequently, the rate of charge inflation picked up to the fastest since February 2018.

Nonetheless, the overall degree of optimism was similar to December's four-month high, remaining below its long-run average.

Amid broad-based accelerations across manufacturing and services, the composite output index advanced to a seven-year high of 56.3 in January from 53.7 in December.

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