China services sector
HSBC China services PMI moves off 6-month low in FebruaryREUTERS

The services sector in Asia's largest and third largest economies continued to expand in February as per an HSBC/Markit survey.

The India services PMI rose to 53.9, its highest in eight months, from January's 52.4. The China index jumped off a six-month low of 51.8 to 52.0.

India's composite PMI output index increased to 53.5 from 53.3, signalling a solid rise in private sector output, Markit said, adding that while services activity expanded at a faster pace, growth of manufacturing production moderated.

According to the survey, strong new business growth was the primary factor for the increase in activity in India. New business in the services sector increased markedly in February, amid evidence of strengthening demand conditions, weaker inflation rates and market stability.

"Boosted by a solid rise in new work, service sector output in India expanded at a robust rate in February. Nonetheless, the latest improvement in economic prospects across the sector is yet to feed through to the labour market, as employment was little-changed over the month," said Pollyanna De Lima, an economist at Markit.

The composite PMI for China extended the current trend of expansion to 10 months by rising to a five-month high of 51.8 from January's 51.0. The services index rose to 52.0 from 51.8.

Markit said China's stronger growth of total business activity was supported by faster increases in output across both the manufacturing and service sectors in February.

Manufacturing output increased at the quickest rate since last August, while services activity growth picked up slightly since January's six-month low, the report said.

"The latest PMI data signalled that China's service sector remained in expansionary territory in February, though the rate of growth remained modest," said Annabel Fiddes, economist at Markit.

"However, the solid rise in new orders suggests that activity growth may pick up in the months ahead, as firms continued to add to their payroll numbers amid a positive business outlook."

According to the Markit surveys in February, the Chinese economy is on a steadier growth footing, Fiddes added.