Driven by a rise in new businesses, the services sector growth picked up momentum in April and business optimism hit the highest level since last June, according to the HSBC Services PMI (purchasing managers index) survey released here today.

HSBC’s business activity index or services PMI, compiled by its service Markit, rose to 52.8 in April from 52.3 in March, the bank said in a statement. However, the report said though positive this is a below-trend rate expansion of services output.

The data comes a day after the bank reported higher PMI for the manufacturing sector, which also showed growth inching up on rising orders.

The services index has been staying above the 50-mark, which separates growth from contraction, for six months now.

Services firms benefited from a rise in the new business sub-index to 55.1 from 54.8 in March, allowing them to add jobs for the second month in a row and at the fastest pace since last June, said the bank.

“Services sector activity accelerated slightly in April on the back of a rise in new business, which supported a marginal pick-up in sequential employment growth. Moreover, survey respondents were significantly more optimistic about the outlook over the coming 12 months,” HSBC chief economist for India and Asean, Mr Leif Eskesen, said.

He added confidence regarding future business also rose to its highest in 10 months.

Yesterday, the bank said the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index inched up to 54.9 in April, from 54.7 in March, showing a positive move after three months of decline, though the rate of expansion slowed fractionally, and was the weakest in 2012 so far.