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Indian Service Sector Growth Remains Strong In March

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India’s service sector growth expanded at the strongest rate since December last year, survey results from S&P Global showed on Wednesday.

The services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.6 in March from 51.8 in February. Any score above 50.0 indicates expansion in the sector.

In the fourth quarter, the reading was at its lowest average of 52.3 since the beginning of this fiscal year versus 57.4 in the third quarter.

New work intakes increased further in March, while new business from abroad continued to decline. New export orders contracted at the fastest pace since September last year.

The overall rate of cost inflation was the strongest since March 2011 and the overall rate of charge inflation remained high, but moderated.

Business confidence weakened in March due to inflation expectations and the overall level of sentiment remained subdued in the backdrop supply concerns due to war in Ukraine.

The staffing levels remained unchanged in March and outstanding business volumes increased. The rate of backlog accumulation increased slightly.

The composite output index that combines the performance of manufacturing and services, rose to 54.3 in March from 53.5 in the previous month. This was the strongest rate of expansion in 2022.

“The war in Ukraine exacerbated lingering issues in supply chains, triggering a re-acceleration in inflation across the Indian service economy,” Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at S&P Global, said.

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