Home / Industry / Manufacturing /  Core sector growth at 17-month low of negative 0.1% in March

New Delhi: Eight core industries registered a negative growth of 0.1% in March, the lowest performance in 17 months, due to a steep decline in production of steel, cement and refinery products.

The output had expanded by 4% in March 2014. The previous low logged by the core industries was in October 2013 at (-) 0.6%. The growth of eight core industries—coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, electricity, steel and cement—was 1.4% in February 2015.

For the full 2014-15 fiscal, the production growth of eight sectors also slowed down to 3.5% from 4.2% in previous financial year ended in March 2014. “The stagnation in core sector output and contraction in merchandise trade ... leading us to expect a moderation in industrial growth," rating agency ICRA said.

The growth rate of core sector industries has been declining since November last year. It was 6.7% in November 2014, which fell to 2.4% in December 2014 and then to 1.8% in January.

The eight sectors contribute 38% to the overall industrial production, a parameter that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) takes into account while framing its monetary policy. In March 2015, steel production declined by 4.4%, cement output by 4.2%, refinery products’ by 1.3% and of natural gas by 1.5%, according to the data released by the commerce and industry ministry.

However, coal production rose by 6%, crude oil by 1.7% and fertiliser output by 5.2% in the last month of 2014-15 fiscal. Electricity generation grew by 1.7% in March 2015 compared to 5.4% in the same month last year.

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