Coal, gas drive down core sector output


Raising concerns over a further decline in industrial performance, the growth in the eight core sectors industries fell for the second straight month to 2.6 per cent in December 2012 as output of natural gas, coal and fertilisers contracted significantly. In sharp contrast, the key infrastructure sectors had grown by 4.9 per cent a year ago.

The eight core sector industries, which have a weight of 37.9 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production, dipped by 1.8 per cent in November. Industrial production too had contracted by 0.1 per cent in the month dragged down by lower production in mining and manufacturing.

The cumulative expansion of the industries in April-Dec, 2012 slowed to 3.3 per cent from 4.8 per cent in the same period last year, as per official data released on Thursday.

"The decline in growth in December, 2012 was on account of negative growth witnessed in the production of coal, natural gas and fertilisers," an official release said.

Production of natural gas dipped by 14.9 per cent in December, 2012 as against a 10.8 per cent contraction a year ago. Meanwhile, coal production contracted by 0.2 per cent in the month under review as compared to a 5.5 per cent growth in December, 2011. Fertiliser output too shrunk by 3.8 per cent against 0.8 per cent growth in December, 2011.

Meanwhile, steel and electricity production slowed to 5.2 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively, in December, 2012 against 10.2 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively, in the year-ago period. Petroleum refinery output registered a 5 per cent growth in December, 2012, as against a 0.7 per cent a year ago.

The performance of crude oil and petroleum refinery was also sluggish. Crude oil production grew by one per cent in December, 2012 as compared to a 5.5 per cent drop a year ago. Cement output also was slower at 3.9 per cent from 13.6 per cent in December 2011.

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