Representative file image. | Photo credit: Kamal Narang
Output growth in India’s eight major sectors fell from 3.6% in March to 3.5% in April, marking the slowest pace in six months, with half of the sectors including power and natural gas, reporting a contraction.
Crude oil production fell 3.5% in April, the 11th consecutive month of contraction. Natural gas production fell 2.8% and refined products fell 1.5% – the first such decline since November 2022 for these two sectors.
Cement, steel and fertilizers surged to offset declines in half of the sectors covered by the basic industries index. Cement production rebounded from a 0.6% contraction in March to jump 11.6%, the fastest growth in five months.
Steel production rose 12.1% in April, the fastest pace in three months, while fertilizer production accelerated 23.5%, marking the strongest growth in more than a year . Coal production increased by 9%, a little slower than the 12.2% growth in March 2023.
The Trade and Industry Ministry, which released the data on Wednesday, further revised January’s core sector growth rate upwards to 9.7%, from its previous estimate of 8.9%. . January’s strong seven-month growth lifted overall core sector growth through 2022-23 to 7.7%, from 7.6% previously estimated.
By April 2022, core sectors had reported a 9.5% increase in production levels, with all sectors except crude oil reporting higher volumes. However, base effects alone do not appear to be responsible for moderating growth in April, with production levels down 8.55% from March 2023.
On a sequential basis, the only two sectors to report higher production levels were electricity (up 2% in April from March) and fertilizers (0.5% from March). By contrast, coal and steel production fell the most from March levels, falling 31.9% and 7.3%, respectively.