Core sector growth highest in 5 months

Helped by the robust performance of coal, natural gas and electricity, the eight core sectors recorded a five-month high growth rate of 4.9 percent in August, official data showed on Tuesday.

These eight infrastructure sectors — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — had witnessed 3.1 percent expansion in August last year.

The infrastructure growth was 2.6 percent in the previous month of July. The core sector growth in August is the highest since March when it grew by 5.2 percent.

The production of coal, natural gas and electricity rose by 15.3 percent, 4.2 percent and 10.3 percent, according to the official data released on Tuesday.
However crude oil, fertiliser and cement recorded negative growth in the month under review.

The production growth of refinery products and steel slowed down to 2.4 percent and 3 percent in August as against 2.5 percent and 16.7 percent respectively in the same month last year.

Cumulatively, the eight core sectors in April-August recorded a growth rate of 3 percent as against 5.4 percent in the same period a year ago.

Healthy growth in key sectors would have positive implications on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) as these segments account for about 41 percent to the total factory output.

Commenting on the data, rating agency ICRA said: “Given the favourable base effect and the expected rebuilding of inventories prior to the festive season, we expect the IIP (index of industrial production) growth to improve in August relative to the initial estimate of 1.2 percent for July 2017”.

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