New Delhi: Core infrastructure industries’ growth accelerated to 8.7% in February 2008, reviving hopes that industrial production would speed up and arrest an economic slowdown.
Growth in coal, power and cement, three of the six industries that make up the core infrastructure sector, aided the healthy growth in February as compared to 7.6% a year ago.
These industries, including steel, crude petroleum and petroleum refinery products, carry 26.68 weightage on the Index of Industrial Production. Hence, they could influence higher industrial growth and in turn GDP expansion, although Asian Development Bank has projected the Indian economy to moderate to 8% this fiscal from 8.7% in FY’08.
However, in April-February 2007-08 period, infrastructure growth remained lower at 5.6% compared to 8.7% a year ago due to less than five per cent growth in the four preceding months this fiscal. The infrastructure sector had grown by a poor 4.2% in January 2008.
In February, coal industry growth improved to 11.7% from 6.5%, power to 9.6% from 3.3% and cement to 12.4% from 5.8%.
However, crude oil dropped to 2.3% in the month under review from 4.9% in the same month last year, petroleum refinery products to 5.8% from 11.3% and finished steel to 8.2% from 13.6%.
On sequential basis this fiscal, the infrastructure sector growth more than doubled in February from a mere 4.2% in January.