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India Services PMI rises to 51.7 in January

06 February 2018

The sector drew a reading of 53 in January, down from 54.2 in December and lower than the expected 54.3, according to IHS Markit's latest purchasing managers index (PMI).

The reading was at the bottom end of a range of forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists and looked likely to widen the gap between Britain's slow-growing economy as it heads for Brexit and other countries gaining from a bounce-back in global growth.

"The recovery across India's service sector continued during January, with growth in output picking up to the joint-strongest since June 2017 as underlying demand conditions improved", said Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit, and author of the report but cautioned that the overall performance of the service sector remained weaker than the long-run growth trend.

He said: "Service sector expansion slid to a 16-month low, reflecting a marked waning in growth of demand for business and consumer-facing services such as hotels and restaurants". Input prices rose at their slowest pace since September 2016.

Growth in China's service activity accelerated by the most in more than seven years in January, a Caixin survey showed Monday, in a further sign the world's second-largest economy has maintained momentum at the start of 2018.

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The composite PMI in the Eurozone - which combines all the major sector's PMI surveys -rose to 58.8 in January from December, above the consensus and initial estimate, 58.6.

Williamson said that the January numbers were signalling a United Kingdom growth rate of "just under 0.3 per cent" for the first quarter of 2018, which would mark a slowdown from 0.5 per cent in December.

Business confidence was the highest since March 2017.

The survey showed companies raised their prices in January, given 'strong upward pressure on cost burdens, ' particularly around insurance, fuel, transport, and food.

That, coupled with the government's plan to increase spending for rural areas and support farmers in its federal budget, could push up inflation and prompt the central bank to raise interest rates sooner-than-expected.

India Services PMI rises to 51.7 in January