NEW DELHI: India's core industrial sectors expanded at 2.6 per cent in December 2018, recording its slowest growth in last 18 months, mainly on account of fall in output of crude oil, refinery products and fertilisers.
According to Commerce and Industry Ministry data released on Thursday, during April-December 2018, the eight core sectors recorded a growth of 4.8 per cent as compared to 3.9 per cent in same period of the previous fiscal.
“The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 132.1 in December 2018, which was 2.6 per cent higher as compared to the index of December 2017. Its cumulative growth during April-December, FY 2018-19 was 4.8 per cent,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
The eight industries included in the index comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production.
The last time the key industries recorded the lowest expansion in output was in June 2017, when the core sectors had registered 1 per cent growth.
On sector-specific basis, the output of refinery products, which has the highest weightage of 28.03, declined (-)4.8 per cent in December 2018, compared to the corresponding month of the last fiscal. Crude oil recorded negative growth of 4.3 per cent.
The sub-index for natural gas output, with a weightage of 6.88, edged higher by 4.2 per cent.
The fertiliser production also recorded negative growth of 2.4 per cent.
However, electricity generation, which has the second highest weightage of 19.85, picked up by 4 per cent.
Steel production, the third most important component with a weightage of 17.92, was up by 13.2 per cent during the month, whereas coal mining, with 10.33 weightage, inched up 0.9 per cent.
Growth of cement sector slowed to 11.6 per cent, but coal output grew by 0.9 per cent. Slow growth in the key sectors would also have implications on the Index of Industrial Production numbers as these segments account for about 41 per cent of the total factory output.