New Delhi: The manufacturing activities defied expectations for a slowdown and expanded at the fastest pace in October as compared to last four months, boosted by increasing new orders.

The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 53.1 last month from 52.2 in September, its highest since June.  It has been above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction for 15 months, says a Reuters report.

"Manufacturing continued to make up for ground lost in August, with a robust and accelerated rise in new orders boosting production growth in October," noted Pollyanna De Lima, a principal economist at IHS Markit. "Consumer, intermediate and investment goods output all increased at stronger rates."

A sub-index showed total new orders increased at a faster pace due to the festive season, though growth in export orders moderated slightly. That encouraged firms to raise output at the fastest pace in four months, which helped increase hiring to the highest pace this year.

"The trend for employment was particularly encouraging, with job creation at a ten-month high. Firms sought to increase their competitive edge, with marketing activity and investment in research and development, which meant business sentiment remained positive," added de Lima.

The survey also showed both output and input prices rose at a slower pace.

Experts feel the decline in oil prices over the past month will likely keep retail inflation below the Reserve Bank of India's medium-term target of 4% for a third consecutive month in October.