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Key infra sector growth rises to 14-month high of 12.1% in August

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NEW DELHI : The growth of eight key infrastructure sectors rose to a 14-month high of 12.1 per cent in August 2023 against 4.2 per cent a year ago, mainly due to expansion in production of coal, crude oil, and natural gas, according to the official data released on Friday.

The expansion in August is the highest since June 2022, when it was 13.2 per cent.

The production of refinery products, steel, cement and electricity also grew in August, the data showed.

The core sector growth in July was 8.4 per cent, the Commerce and Industry Ministry data showed.

The output growth of the eight sectors was also lower at 7.7 per cent in April-August 2023-24 against 10 per cent in the year-ago period.

These industries account for 40.27 per cent of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

In August, steel output jumped 10.9 per cent against 5.8 per cent in the same month last year.

Natural gas production increased by 10 per cent during the month under review compared to a contraction of 0.9 per cent in August 2022.

Coal output surged 17.9 per cent in August 2023 from 7.7 per cent in August 2022.

The growth rate in the production of refinery products rose to 9.5 per cent against 7 per cent in August 2022.

Similarly, crude oil production rose to 2.1 per cent in the month under review.

Cement and electricity output jumped 18.9 per cent and 14.9 per cent in August, respectively. However, the growth rate in the production of fertilisers slowed down to 1.8 per cent in August against 11.9 per cent in the same month last year.

Icra Ltd Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said a truant monsoon helped to push up core sector growth in August.

“Given the uptick in the core sector growth, as well as the healthy performance of high-frequency indicators, such as auto output, GST e-way bills, rail freight etc, we forecast the IIP to expand by 9-11 per cent in August 2023,” she added. 

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