India’s March Services PMI Eases But Remains In Expansion Zone
A gauge of India’s services sector eased but remained in the expansion zone for the sixth straight month.
The India Services Business Activity Index, compiled by IHS Markit, stood at 54.6 in March 2021 compared with 55.3 in February, according to a media statement. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in business activity.
The Composite PMI Output Index, too, dropped to 56 in March from 57.3 in February.
March data pointed to further increases in new businesses and output at Indian services firms as companies benefited from strong demand and the elections, the statement said. New orders rose in March for the sixth month in a row but the pace softened. Growth was reportedly curbed by the pandemic and low footfall, it said.
External demand for Indian services continued to worsen, with new orders from abroad decreasing for the thirteenth straight month. That said, the rate of contraction was the slowest in this sequence.
A few firms lifted their selling prices amid efforts to protect margins given a rise in input costs. At the same time, a majority of companies left their fees unchanged due to competitive pressures. As a result, there was only a fractional rise in average output charges.
Services companies posted another decline in payroll numbers during March.
Looking ahead, companies expect business activity to increase over the course of the coming 12 months. Rising client enquiries and hopes for greater vaccine availability were the key reasons underpinning optimism in March.