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India Services Growth Slows In March

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

The IHS Markit services Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 54.6 in March from 55.3 in February.

Economists had forecast a score of 54.5. Any reading above 50.0 indicates expansion in the sector.

New orders increased in March, while demand from abroad declined for the thirteenth month in a row.

Input cost inflation rose sharply in March and selling prices increased.

The number of employed declined for the fourth straight month in March. Backlogs of work grew for the tenth consecutive month, albeit at a weaker pace since June last year.

Firms expect the business activity to increase in the next 12 months with hopes for greater vaccine availability. The overall level of confidence remained unchanged in March.

The survey showed that the composite output index, which combines services and manufacturing output, fell to 56.0 in March from 57.3 in the prior month.

"The elections supported the uptick in demand, but the Covid-19 pandemic and reduced footfall restricted the upturn," Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit, said.

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