Stubborn inflation and high interest rates seem to be taking their toll on India’s economy. New figures released on Friday show India’s industrial output has slowed down in April. The index of industrial production slowed down to just 6.3% during the month on a year-on-year basis. The revised figure for March is 8.83%. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee reacted quickly, calling the fall in production disturbing.
Here’s how the IIP figures look, broken up by sector. Manufacturing went up 6.9% during the month. And mining expanded a mere 2.2%. Utilities meanwhile showed a healthier growth of 6.4% in April. The latest IIP numbers are part of a new series being used to calculate monthly production. The index uses new weights as well as a new base year of 2004-05.
In corporate, Reliance Industries’ big hydrocarbon asset, the KG D6 block hasn’t been doing as well as expected. But if you’re hoping for a revival of gas output there, don’t hold your breath. Both RIL and its Canadian ally Niko Resources have looked into the issue and they’re not optimistic about an immediate turnaround. Mint has learnt they’ve concluded gas production is unlikely to go up for another 36 months. What’s more the hydrocarbons regulator DGH agrees with this assessment.
Just days ago, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had told shareholders his company would work with partner BP to increase gas output once again. The KG D6 basin in the Bay of Bengal has been one of RIL’s most lucrative assets in recent years.
Bharti Airtel is sounding an optimistic note about its African operations. Manoj Kohli, its head for international operations, said the company is on its way to getting $5 billion in revenue in the fiscal 2013. Kohli said the challenge would be to replicate the firm’s low-cost model in the continent.
A new report says India is making more nuclear weapons and could have as many as Pakistan. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says India could have 80-110 nuclear warheads. Pakistan is estimated to have 90-110.