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India Service Sector Growth Slows In December

India's service sector activity expanded at a softer pace in December, survey results from IHS Markit showed on Wednesday.

The IHS Markit services Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 52.3 in December from 53.7 in November. Economists had forecast a score of 54.0. Any reading above 50.0 indicates expansion in the sector.

New business increased in December, while new export business declined sharply, albeit at a softer pace since March.

Employment decreased in December and the decline in payroll numbers was the ninth in ten months. Backlogs of work rose at a softer pace.

The outlook for the 12 months positive sentiment fell from November, though the firms expected improvement in the coming year.

On the price front, input prices rose to the greatest extend since February, while service charges were reduced.

The survey showed that the composite output index, which combines services and manufacturing output, fell to 54.9 in December from 56.3 in November.

"It is clear that the early part of 2021 will continue to be challenging, but we're looking at a sustainable recovery and some return to normality once COVID-19 vaccines become available," Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit, said.

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