New Delhi: Services sector activity in India accelerated at the fastest pace in five months in November, driven by faster growth in new business orders, an HSBC survey said today.
The HSBC India Services Business Activity Index, that tracks changes in activity at Indian services companies on a month-by-month basis, rose from 50.0 in October to 52.6 in November, registering the highest pace of growth since June.
A figure above 50 indicates that the sector is expanding, while a figure below that level means contraction.
“Service sector activity grew in November, as new business rose for the seventh month running,” HSBC Chief India Economist Pranjul Bhandari said.
The survey further said that notwithstanding the strong order flows, business sentiment slipped to the weakest level since mid-2007.
“Despite the uptick in order flows, business sentiment deteriorated, reminding us that continued policy action that addresses investor concerns is needed to sustain the growth momentum,” Bhandari said.
Meanwhile, the headline HSBC Composite Output Index — that maps manufacturing as well as services sectors output also climbed to a five-month high of 53.6, up from 51.0 in October.
Growth of activity and new business had little impact on service sector employment in November as workforce numbers in the Indian service sector declined for the first time in four months.
Meanwhile, prices dipped on falling commodity prices and increased competition.
Calls for a rate cut had been growing in the run-up to the policy announcement, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also pitching for lower cost of capital to boost growth.
However, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan yesterday kept interest rates unchanged, saying a shift in stance is ‘premature' but hinted that a cut may come early next year if inflation continues to ease and the Government acts on the fiscal side.
Jaitley had recently said a whole set of second generation reforms would be unveiled in the next Budget and added that his immediate target is the Insurance Amendment Bill, Coal Ordinance and the GST Bill.