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India Service Sector Expands In October

India's service sector activity expanded for the first time since February in October, survey results from IHS Markit showed Tuesday.

The IHS Markit services Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 54.1 in October from 49.8 in September. Economists had forecast a score of 51.2. Any reading above 50.0 indicates expansion in the sector.

New work increased in October, while new orders from abroad declined further.

Employment continued to decline in October with the pace of job shedding remaining solid and matching that recorded in the previous month.

Backlogs of work rose in October as employment declined and orders increased.

The 12-month outlook for business activity remained positive, as the confidence improved when firms became upbeat for the first time in five months.

Input cost increased in four of the five monitored categories and the overall rate of charge inflation was marginal and slowest in the three-month period of increases.

The survey showed that the composite output index, which combines services and manufacturing output, rose to 58.0 in October from 54.6 in the previous month. This was the highest in nearly nine years.

"It's encouraging to see the Indian service sector joining its manufacturing counterpart and posting a recovery in economic conditions from the steep deterioration caused by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year," Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit, said.

"They were also more upbeat about the outlook, though hopes of output growth in the year ahead were pinned on a COVID-19 vaccine," Lima said.

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