Core sector grows 3.8% in May

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 30 2012, 07:55am hrs
The commerce ministry, which last year made a $9-billion correction in export data, has goofed up again. Within a couple of hours of releasing the data on core sector industries for May on Friday, reporting a 4.6% growth, it revised the numbers, showing a 3.8% expansion.

As per the revised data, the growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors slowed to 3.8% in May as opposed to 5.8% in the comparable year ago period, led by the poor performance of crude oil, natural gas and fertiliser. The cumulative growth during April-May stood at 3.4% against 5.0% growth in the same period of the previous year.

The change in growth numbers are attributable to mistake in reporting growth in cement production. While the ministry reported cement output growth of 22.1% earlier, it later revised it to 11.3% which resulted in the revision of core sector numbers.

While the output of natural gas and fertiliser contracted 10.8% and 15.1%, respectively, during May, the production of petroleum refinery products slowed down to 2.9 % from 4.5% last year.

The output of crude oil also declined to 0.5 % from 9.8 % during May 2011. On a year-on-year basis, steel and electricity production, too, grew at a slower rate to 4.9% and 5.2% in May compared to 8 % and 10.3%, respectively, in May 2011. Only coal and cement sectors showed higher growth at 8% and 11.3% in May compared with their growth in the corresponding period last year when cement growth had declined to 1.2% while coal production showed a 1.3% growth.

The eight core industries comprising coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity have a combined weight of 37.9% in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The combined Index was 150.9 in May 2012. "The growth is largely attributable to the coal and cement numbers. Backed by recent clearances and increased focus on production positive coal output bears well for the IIP numbers to be announced shortly," said Anis Chakravarty, senior director, Deloitte in India.

"We expect coal numbers to now remain positive going forward. Growth in oil and refinery products continue to remain flat. Natural gas output has remained in the negative now for over an year and some focus is needed by policy makers to correct this," he added.