New Delhi: Core sector growth slowed to 2.5% in March from 7% in the same month a year ago as output of crude oil, natural gas and fertilizer declined. The eight core industries—fertilizers, cement, steel, electricity, crude oil, coal, petroleum refinery products and natural gas—have a combined weight of about 38% in the index of industrial production.

For 2013-14, core sector growth slowed to 2.6% from 6.5% in 2012-13, according to data released by the ministry of commerce and industry. In March, crude oil, natural gas and fertiliser output fell 1.6%, 9.3% and 6.1%, respectively. Growth in the production of coal, petroleum refinery products and steel slowed to 0.7%, 2.8% and 5.4% in March as against 1.7%, 24.3% and 11.6% a year earlier, respectively. Cement output was unchanged in March. Only electricity generation increased to 5.4% from 3.5% in March 2013. In January and February, the eight sectors grew by 1.6% and 4.5%, respectively.