Services sector grows at slower clip in July: HSBC

Tags: Economy
India's services sector registered the third consecutive month of expansion in July, but the pace of growth was significantly down from the previous month due to moderation in order flows, an HSBC survey said.

The headline HSBC Services Business Activity Index stood at 52.2 in July, down from June's 17-month peak of 54.4, as there was moderation in business flows and market sentiment as against the previous month.

A reading above 50 shows that the sector is expanding, while that below 50 shows that the output in the sector is contracting.

"Growth in the services sector softened in July after a big jump in the previous month. Nevertheless, the sector recorded its third consecutive month of expansion, following several months of subdued activity," HSBC Co-Head of Asian Economic Research Frederic Neumann said.

Earlier this week, the HSBC/Markit manufacturing PMI showed that the manufacturing sector growth jumped to a 17-month high in July.

Accordingly, the headline HSBC Composite Output Index stood at 53.0 in July, down from June's 16-month high of 53.8.

Meanwhile, the slow order flows also had an impact on the employment scenario as staffing levels in the services and manufacturing sectors fell fractionally in July.

Accordingly, employment fell across the private sector for the first time since April.

Going forward, Indian services companies are optimistic about future business activity on the back of stronger demand, new government policies and the introduction of new marketing initiatives.

On prices, the report said there was a moderate rise in output prices across the private sector.

"Final prices were marked up at a faster pace to reflect rising costs, underscoring the need for RBI to remain cautious about inflation risks," Neumann added.

The Reserve Bank of India, in its policy review meet today, kept key interest rates unchanged, while reducing SLR by 0.5 per cent to 22 per cent.

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