The industrial production growth, which declined to a four-month low of 2 per cent in June, grew 4.3 per cent in July, according to government data released on Thursday. Factory output, as measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had expanded 6.5 per cent in July 2018.
The last lowest reading in IIP growth was in February this year when it had inched up 0.2 per cent. Since then, the index grew at 2.7 per cent in March, 4.3 per cent in April and 4.6 per cent in May.
The manufacturing sector grew at 4.2 per cent in July as compared to 7 per cent a year ago. A similar slowdown was noticed in the power generation sector, where growth slipped to 4.8 per cent in July as compared to 6.6 per cent a year ago. The only solace was in the mining sector, which grew at 4.9 per cent in July as against 3.4 per cent in the corresponding month of the last fiscal.
Retail inflation touches 3.21% in August
Meanwhile, retail inflation inched up marginally to 3.21 per cent in August from 3.15 per cent in July, mainly due to costlier food items, according to official data released.
The rate of price rise in the food basket was 2.99 per cent in August, up from 2.36 per cent in the previous month, as per the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation. The CPI-based inflation was 3.69 per cent in August 2018.
The RBI, which mainly factors in CPI while arriving at its bi-monthly monetary policy, has been asked by the government to keep inflation at around 4 per cent.
Growth of eight core industries slowed down to 2.1 per cent in July as against 7.3 per cent in the same month last year. The eight core sector industries – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity – had expanded by 7.3 per cent in July last year. These core industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
The data comes at the backdrop of weak manufacturing and consumption numbers dragging the country’s GDP growth to a 25-quarter low of 5 per cent in the first quarter (April-June) of the current fiscal. The GDP growth rate has now slowed for the fifth consecutive quarter with the previous low recorded at 4.3 per cent in March 2013.
(With PTI inputs)
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