Growth in India's dominant services sector picked up in January as demand improved and consumer optimism was buoyed by the start of a huge COVID-19 vaccination drive, although firms continued to shed jobs, a private survey showed on Wednesday.
That improved sentiment was in line with findings of a Reuters poll last month that predicted Asia's third-largest economy would recover from the coronavirus crisis more strongly than previously thought, lifted by the government's "wealth and wellness" budget announced on February 1.
The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 52.8 in January from 52.3 in December, staying above the 50-level mark separating growth from contraction for the fourth straight month.
"The Indian service sector enjoyed good levels of activity in January, with new business volumes rising for the fourth successive month and growth rates for both measures picking up from December," noted Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit.
A sub-index tracking new business rose last month primarily due to a continued recovery in domestic demand as export orders contracted for the eleventh straight month, hurt by strict restrictions to curb a resurgence in coronavirus cases in major economies.