Russia’s Services Sector Expands for Seventh Month in a Row

Greater foreign client demand and a robust expansion in new orders have driven Russia’s service sector to expansion for the seventh month running in January, Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed on Wednesday.

The index’s headline figure rose to 54.1 in January from 53.1 in December, above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction as it has been since July.

“Although less upbeat regarding future business activity growth, service providers registered a stronger increase in output in January,” said Sian Jones, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey. “Nevertheless, underlying data signaled challenging demand conditions, less motivation to expand workforce numbers and a decline in charges amid efforts to stay competitive.”

Output charges decreased for the first time in a decade with companies noting that efforts to remain competitive and secure clients drove output prices lower.

Business confidence in the services sector continued to rise, but optimism dipped to its lowest since December 2016 amid uncertainty regarding the stability of future demand conditions, IHS Markit said.

A separate PMI report this week showed Russian manufacturing activity fell for the ninth month running in January, but the pace of contraction slowed.