NEW DELHI: Robust performance of coal, natural gas and refinery products has helped the eight core sectors register a six-month high growth of 5.2 per cent in September, showed commerce ministry data released on Tuesday. The growth of steel and cement sectors slowed down while fertiliser growth shrank.
Cumulatively, the growth in the eight core sectors — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — during the April-September period slowed to 3.3 per cent against 5.4 per cent in the year-ago period.
“Slower growth of cement and steel sector raises a concern on infrastructure sector growth outlook. Going forward, high base in October 2016 is likely to pull down growth a bit in October 2017,” said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist, India Ratings.
The eight infrastructure sectors had witnessed a growth of 5.3 per cent in September last year. The growth in September is the highest since April, when the figure stood at 2.6 per cent. The production of coal, natural gas and refinery products rose 10.6 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 8.1 per cent, respectively, on an annual basis.
“Upward trending growth pattern of the last four months is encouraging. This, coupled with restocking after destocking process due to GST and festive demand, is expected to give a push to IIP growth in September 2017,” said Pant.
Meanwhile, increased expenditure helped India’s fiscal deficit as it touched 91.3 per cent at the end of the first half of the current fiscal of the Budget estimate. In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit – the difference between expenditure and revenue - was Rs 4.99 lakh crore during the April-September period of FY18, according to Controller General of Accounts data.