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Infra sector output shrinks 0.4 pc in April


New Delhi: Declining for the second month in a row, the output of eight core industries contracted by 0.4 per cent in April on poor performance of electricity, cement, refinery products and fertiliser sectors, bolstering the case for a rate cut by RBI tomorrow.

Coal and steel were only two sectors that saw some growth, while crude oil and natural gas also recorded lower output in April.

The output had declined by 0.1 per cent in March 2015, while it had seen a growth of 5.7 per cent a year ago in April 2014.

The latest core sector data came a day ahead of the RBI’s scheduled monetary policy review where the central bank is widely expected to lower the rates to further boost the investment flow and the core sector output.

The overall growth of eight core industries in the entire 2014-15 fiscal stood at 3.5 per cent against 4.2 per cent in the previous fiscal.

The growth rate of core sector industries has been declining since November last year. It was 6.7 per cent in November 2014, which fell to 2.4 per cent in December 2014 and then to 1.8 per cent in January and 1.4 per cent in February.

The eight sectors contribute 38 per cent to the overall industrial production, a parameter that the Reserve Bank takes into account while framing its monetary policy.

In April 2015, the output of crude oil declined by 2.7 per cent, natural gas by 3.6 per cent, electricity by 1.1 per cent and  cement by 2.4 per cent. The production of refinery products too declined by 2.9 per cent and fertiliser output shrunk by 0.04 per cent.

Growth in steel output slowed down to 0.6 per cent in April as against 6.9 per cent in the same month last year. Coal production grew by 7.9 per cent during the first month of 2015-16.

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