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India Service Sector Expansion Highest In 7 Years

India's service sector expanded at the fastest pace in seven years in February, with increases in new export orders and business confidence, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 57.5 in February from 55.5 in January. A score above 50 suggests expansion.

The PMI rose for the fifth successive month. The latest growth was the strongest since January 2013.

New work intakes increased to the second-fastest level in over seven years in February and new orders rose in the five monitored categories and was led by consumer services.

New orders from abroad led to the rise in total sales and the pace of expansion in international demand for Indian services decreased.

The rate of job creation was the slowest in three months, while employment increased in four out of the five tracked sub-sectors.

On the price front, input prices increased in February, though the rate of inflation softened from the beginning of the year. The selling prices rose, but at a softer rate and the cost burden increased.

Robust increase in both manufacturing and services output, led the composite output index to increase to an eight-year high of 57.6 in February from 56.3 in January.

"Growth in India's service sector accelerated further halfway through the final quarter of fiscal year 2019/20, with the trend for business activity improving in each month since last September when the sharpest contraction for 19 months was recorded," Pollyanna de Lima, principal economist at IHS Markit, said.

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