Services sector propels India's economic activity
Services sector expansion propelled the overall economic activity in India during October, a key macro data showed on Wednesday.
 
The Nikkei India composite PMI (purchasing managers’ index) which is a key macro data that indicates monthly trends in overall economic activity showed a rise of 52.6 in October from 51.5 in September.
 
An index reading of above 50 indicates an overall increase in the economic activity, below 50 an overall decrease.
 
The composite PMI weighs the average of the manufacturing output index and the services business activity index. It is based on original survey data collected from around 700 companies spread across sectors in India. 
 
According to the composite PMI report published by the leading global diversified provider of financial information services -- "Markit", the October expansion trend was the joint-fastest since March. 
 
The survey said the latest improvement was driven by services, as goods producers saw growth of production wane.
 
"India's economic growth shifted into a higher gear in October, driven by the service sector. Although manufacturing production continued to expand, growth eased and was sluggish by historical standards," said Pollyanna De Lima, economist with Markit.
 
On a standalone basis, the Nikkei India manufacturing PMI recorded a 22-month low in October at 50.7, down from 51.2 in September and from 52.3 in August.
 
The Nikkei services business activity index for India for October stood at 53.2 from September's 51.3. 
 
The services index noted growth in three out of the six surveyed categories, led by post and telecommunication.
 
The survey also revealed a quicker increase in new business inflows since February. 
 
"The upward trend in private sector output reflected stronger inflows of incoming new work, one that was the most marked since March," De Lima said.
 
"Services companies saw a faster rise in new business than their manufacturing counterparts, with data implying that price discounts supported growth of new projects." 
 
The services PMI disclosed that the demand conditions also improved in October. 
 
On the input prices, the survey pointed-out a slight rise in petrol and food costs for the services sector. The purchase prices for manufacturers rose for the first time in three months. 
 
Notwithstanding the rise in input costs, service sector employment levels was remained unchanged with approximately 98 percent of survey members reported no change in payroll numbers since the preceding month. 
 
However, goods producers signalled higher staffing numbers, but the rate of job creation was only marginal. 
 
The report cited that the services companies lowered their selling prices for the second successive month in October to improve competitiveness. 
 
The reduction in selling prices at services firms offset higher charges at goods producers, the study said.
 
"Private sector firms remained wary of costs and left payroll numbers, once again, unchanged. Average input prices rose in both the service and manufacturing sectors, although at rates that were relatively weak," De Lima added.
 
The survey added that the services business sentiment regarding the 12-
month outlook for activity remained positive in October, which was the strongest since July. 
 
The strongest levels of confidence were seen in the 'other services' and 'hotels & restaurants' categories.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Health Experts Call for More Vigorous Dietary Supplement Oversight
Tainted products pose serious health risks
 
A series of new reports released Monday in the journal Drug Testing & Analysis is calling for greater oversight and regulation of dietary supplements, noting that the loosely regulated products pose health concerns especially for some vulnerable populations such as young athletes.
About 100 million Americans purchase dietary supplements each year and more than 50,000 are on the market. But gaps in oversight have created a host of problems, including supplements spiked with drugs, poor manufacturing standards and ingredients listed on the label that are not actually in the product, experts say.
 
In a paper called “Breaking the gridlock: Regulation of dietary supplements in the U.S,” Joshua Sharfstein, an associate dean for public health practice and training at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, calls for a series of steps to tighten control and enhance safety. Specifically, Sharfstein and co-author Akshay Kapoor call for registration of all dietary supplements, a stronger disclaimer explaining the FDA’s limited role in evaluating product claims, clearer authority for the agency when safety concerns arise, and the establishment of standard laboratory techniques.
 
“Substantial sections of the market for these products remain disorganized, deceptive, and dangerous,” the paper — which was one of eight articles published by the journal Monday focusing on health issues in the dietary supplement industry — stated. “Hundreds of products marketed as supplements have been spiked with illicit pharmaceuticals, risking serious injury and death.”
 
Specific groups at risk
 
One of the journal articles on the use of dietary supplements focused on use among the military. It found that almost 70 percent of members of the armed forces consume a dietary supplement once a week, with almost one-quarter of them reporting adverse health events.
Young athletes are also particularly vulnerable to health issues related to dietary supplements, another paper reported:
 
Exposure to adulterated sports supplements by adolescents and young adults may be high because the dietary supplements in question are often very popular. Among high school students, the level of supplement use can be as high as 74% and is correlated with the level of sport participation. Many young athletes report using the types of products that are at a higher risk of being adulterated, namely supplements to build muscle, lose weight, and to improve athletic performance.
 
Lax laws
 
The regulation of dietary supplements falls under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA), which does not require the FDA to approve the products before they go to market. It also does not require registration of products either before or after marketing, and critics say it sets a high bar for the FDA to demonstrate a safety problem and use its authority to pull a product off the market.
 
Donald Marcus, a professor emeritus of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, urged that DSHEA be revised or repealed in a paper also published Monday in the journal. Marcus said DSHEA is “arguably the worst health care legislative act of the twentieth century.” He argued that herbal and other medicinal products should be regulated as medicines.
 
Dietary supplements have come under increased scrutiny in recent months. A series of investigations and studies have found adulterated products in a variety of supplements ranging from weight-loss to body-building products. Several lawmakers are calling for more stringent oversight of the industry and some health experts have criticized the FDA for not utilizing the authority it does have over supplements more robustly.
 
The American Medical Association has urged Congress to modify DSHEA and require that dietary supplements and herbal remedies including the products already in the marketplace undergo FDA approval for evidence of safety and efficacy.
 
FDA Responds
 
Lyndsay Meyer, a spokesman for the FDA, said dietary supplements are one of the most challenging areas that the FDA regulates.
 
“It encompasses a vast array of products, it has a fractured supply chain and we have a regulatory framework that limits our authority,” said Meyer.
 
She cautioned consumers to talk with their healthcare providers about supplements they are taking, file an Adverse Event Report if they experience a side effect that may be linked to a supplement and beware of claims that are too good to be true or claim to be fast-acting. Also, “supplements for body building, weight loss and sexual dysfunction should be taken with an abundance of caution,” she said.
 
TINA.org reached out to the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the American Herbal Products Association for comment on the reports but neither returned a statement as of press time.
For more of TINA.org’s coverage of the dietary supplements, click here
 
 

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