REUTERS - India's services industry lost momentum last month from August's robust performance as growth in domestic and foreign demand waned, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The Nikkei/Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 52.0 in September from 54.7 in August, but marked its 15th month in a row above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.
"Service sector performance in India continued to improve relatively modestly in September, a trend that has been evident throughout the year-to-date," said Pollyanna De Lima, an economist at survey compiler Markit.
"With manufacturing also on a softer footing, growth of private sector output and new orders eased in the latest month."
An index measuring new business slumped to 52.1 from 54.5 although the continued expansion pushed firms to increase headcount slightly.
On Tuesday, India's central bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent, citing expectations food inflation would ease in the months ahead and pressure on the economy.
A sister survey on Monday showed Indian factory activity cooled last month on slowing growth in new orders and production.
The latest services PMI survey also showed input prices rose in September after two consecutive months of decline and firms also raised prices slightly.
"Food and petrol prices continued to climb in September, which placed pressure on operating costs. In response, private sector companies raised their own prices for the second straight month, although inflation remained relatively soft," De Lima added.
Consumer inflation in India was 5.05 percent in August, just above the Reserve Bank of India's March 2017 target of 5 percent.
The composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services, fell to 52.4 in September from 54.6.
Reporting by Purnita Deb; Editing by Shri Navaratnam