MOSCOW, (Reuters) - Activity in Russia's services sector grew in November at the fastest rate since January thanks to a sharp increase in new business, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Markit purchasing managers index (PMI) for the sector rose to 57.4 from a three-month low of 53.9 in November, its highest since the 58.4 reached in January this year.
The index has held above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction since February 2016.
"November PMI data signalled steep growth in business activity across the Russian service sector, with the expansion accelerating to reach a ten-month high," said IHS Markit
economist Sian Jones.
"The upturn in new business also quickened to a sharp rate that was the fastest for the best part of a decade."
Employment levels in the service sector increased further in November, the survey showed, with job creation accelerating to its strongest pace since May 2013.
"Business confidence remained robust in November, but optimism did fall to a three-month low," Jones said. "Firms stated that positive sentiment reflected planned product diversification and stronger client demand."
On Friday, another PMI survey showed Russian manufacturing activity rose in November thanks to an increase in output and new orders.
(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Hugh Lawson)