Industrial Growth Down to 4-month Low in Sept
Industrial growth fell to a four-month low of 3.6 per cent in September, against the 6.2 per cent in August, because of deceleration in manufacturing and mining activities, according to official data released on Thursday.
Electricity generation, however, registered a double-digit growth.
In September 2014, industrial growth, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 2.6 per cent.
The growth rose to four per cent in the first half of the current financial year against 2.9 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.
IIP growth rose to 4.6 per cent in the second quarter of the current financial year against 3.3 per cent in the first three months, which will have positive implications for the gross domestic product (GDP) numbers for July-September, to be released by the end of this month end.
India's GDP rose just seven per cent in the first quarter of the current financial year against 7.5 per cent in the previous three months.
Even as manufacturing growth was down at 2.6 per cent in September against 6.6 per cent in August, capital goods and consumer durable goods continued to register double digit growth rates.
Capital goods production rose 21.8 per cent in September against 10.6 per cent in August, showing investment activities. However, the activities were still confined to public expenditure, instead of private investment.
According to the Controller General of Accounts figures, the government capital expenditure rose 29.3 per cent at Rs 1.28 lakh crore in April-September this year over the same period in the previous year.
"With private sector showing limited appetite for expanding capex on account of overleveraged balance sheets, moderation in rural dispensation, and the stress of impaired loans on bank balance sheet, the growth recovery is still not broad based," YES Bank Chief Economist Shubhada Rao said.
Consumer durables output also rose by 17 per cent in September against 10.3 per cent in the previous month. This segment is expected to perform well in October as well. It was indicated by car sales surging 21.8 per cent in October.
Ahead of festival season, firms also seemed to be storing huge quantity of furniture. Production of furniture was up 69.9 per cent in September. Its output was up 49.5 per cent in the first six months of the current financial year.
October IIP numbers, anyway, may post higher numbers because of a contraction by 2.6 per cent in the same month in 2014.
"A favorable base effect related to the shift in the festive calendar is likely to lead to a short-lived spike in IIP growth in October 2015," said Aditi Nayar, a senior economist with the cooperative bank ICRA.
However, consumer non-durables or fast moving consumer goods struggled to recover. Their production grew 0.4 per cent in September against the contraction of 4.6 per cent in the previous month.
Though its legal problems were more or less sorted by September, Maggi's production woes continued in the month - as a result, the "instant food mixes" category, also known as "ready to eat", contributed a fall of 0.14 per cent fall in IIP.
Goods such as textiles which have highest weight in IIP - 45.6 per cent - grew by just 3.4 per cent against 5.03 per cent in August, leading to a fall in manufacturing growth.
In fact, all other goods, including intermediate ones, grew higher in September against August. Intermediate goods were up 2.6 per cent in September against 1.7 per cent in the previous month.
The performance of electricity, among the three main broad categories, was exactly the opposite of manufacturing. Electricity generation rose by 11 per cent in September against 5.6 per cent in August.
Mining, like manufacturing, too, saw a deceleration in growth at three per cent in September against 4.2 per cent in August.
Commenting on a post-November - or post-festive season - outlook of the IIP, Nayar said: "With the outlook for exports and rural demand remaining gloomy and the recovery in infrastructure remaining confined to a few sectors, industrial growth is likely to post modest levels after November."
"The major challenge is to support this recovery after the festival season," Devendra Pant, chief economist, India Ratings, said.