Clearly, consumer confidence will be restored once the capex cycle turns, helping create more jobs and driving up incomes. But that seems some time away; CMIE data shows that new project starts in the three months to December 2012 continued to be weak, falling 8% qoq and 74% yoy. That doesnt suggest a rash of projects any time soon, which means the countrys industrial output might remain anaemic for longer than anticipated; economists have been suggesting that industrial output, which rose 1.3% between April and October and contracted 0.1% yoy in November, might be bottoming out. This, despite the capital goods indexdata for which is considered somewhat unreliablecontracting 7.7% yoy in November, taking the three-month moving average to a negative 4.4%. However, if demand isnt picking up, theres little reason for companies to add to capacity. Sales of both commercial and passenger vehicles have been unexpectedly subdued in January and channel checks by analysts reveal that the sales may be the result of companies merely stocking up. There was some hint of a slowdown in January in the manufacturing PMI, which had stabilised between September and December, but dropped in January to a three-month low of 53.2 with both domestic and export orders falling. Since many of the major issues plaguing the economy are yet to be resolvedthe ban on mining in Karnataka and Goa, for instanceit would seem premature right now to say industrial growth has troughed out.