Stronger orders drive January services growth to three-month high: PMI

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The Purchasing Managers' Index was 53 in the month, down from 54.2 previously and below City of London analysts' expectations that it would strengthen to 54.3.

Any number above 50 points denotes expansion and below that, it means contraction.

Aashna Dodhia, an economist at HIS Markit and the author of the report quoted that this recovery in the service sector of India continued during January with growth picking up at a fast pace from June 2017 since the underlying demands got better.

The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index, which mainly monitors small and medium-sized firms, rose to 54.7 last month, up from 53.9 in December.

According to IHS Markit, the Asean manufacturing economy also started 2018 on a positive note, with the Nikkei Asean Manufacturing PMI indicating a return to growth in January after a subdued end to a year ago.

"The latest survey data signalled that capacity constraints remained evident across both the manufacturing and service sectors, as the volume of outstanding business rose for the twentieth successive month".

Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, examined the data's relevance to the Bank of England's current interest rate policy stance. The PMI in January signaled that in the first quarter an economic growth of less than 0.3% could be seen.

New business inflows and all the backlogs in the Indian service providers were taken care of by increasing the workforce for the fifth month in January.

Inflation in the prices charged by firms eased to a four-month low but remained high. The index stood at 50.9 in December 2016.

Businesses transferred some escalating cost pressures to consumers with both input and output prices rising at a faster pace in January from the previous month.

The Bank raised rates from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent last November in response to what it described as building underlying inflationary pressures, the first hike in the United Kingdom cost of borrowing for a decade.

That had sparked a shift in expectations about United Kingdom interest rates, with investors raising bets on a hike as early as May.

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