India’s infrastructure output expanded at its fastest pace in 16 months in March as fertiliser production jumped by a fifth and power generation rose.
The index of eight core industries rose 6.4% from a year earlier in March 2016, government data showed on Monday. This is the highest since November 2014.
However, it’s too early to raise a toast as cumulative growth for FY2015-16 fell to 2.7%, the lowest annual level in at least seven years, the data showed.
Separately, a private survey showed India’s factory output grew at its slowest pace in four months in the first month of the financial year 2016-17. The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for India fell to 50.5 in April from 52.4 the month before due to weak demand, the survey showed.
The eight core industries—coal, natural gas, petroleum refinery, fertilisers, steel, cement, electricity and crude oil—make up nearly 38 per cent of industrial production. Growth in February was 5.7%.
Natural gas production slumped 10.5% in March from a year earlier while crude oil output fell 5.1%.
Electricity generation, which has the highest weight of 10.32% in the infrastructure index, increased 11.3% in March. Cumulative growth for the year through March came in at 5.2%.
Fertiliser, which has the lowest weight of 1.25% in the infrastructure index, was the top-performing sector in March with output surging 22.9%. Growth in FY2015-16 was 11.3%.
Petroleum refinery production grew 10.8%, steel rose 3.4%, cement climbed 11.9% and coal increased 1.7% in March, the data showed.