MOSCOW, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Russian service sector activity shrank in December for the third straight month due to weak client demand and a drop in new sales, Markit’s purchasing managers index (PMI) data showed on Thursday.
Its main index slipped to 48.0 in December from 48.2 in November, edging further below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.
“Although the contraction in new business eased, new export sales dwindled once again,” said Sian Jones, an economist at survey compiler IHS Markit.
The services sector registered a fourth consecutive monthly drop in employment overall, with panelists citing efforts to “streamline payroll numbers.”
Selling prices rose as companies sought to pass on higher costs to clients despite weak demand.
“Nonetheless, firms remained upbeat regarding the outlook for output over the coming year, with expectations strengthening to a four-month high,” Jones said.
A sister survey showed earlier this week that Russian manufacturing activity also shrank in December but at a slower pace than a month earlier thanks to a less deep decline in output and new orders.
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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