Growth in the core sectors of the economy surged in March to a five-month high of 4.7%, driven by a broad-based recovery in sectors such as cement, refinery products, steel, and coal.
The March edition of the Index of Eight Core Industries also provides a full year (April-March) performance review, which shows that the core industries maintained their growth rate of 4.3% in 2018-19, the same as in the previous year.
The cement sector saw the strongest rebound in March 2019, growing 15.7% compared with 8% in February 2019. The steel sector saw growth accelerating to 6.7% from 4.9% over the same period. The cement sector grew 13.3% over the full year 2018-19, up from the 6.3% growth it recorded in the previous year.
The steel sector, on the other hand, saw growth for the full year come in at a slower 4.7% in 2018-19 compared with 5.6% in 2017-18.
Growth in the coal sector also accelerated in March, to 9.1% from 7.4% in February. Over the full year, the sector grew 7.3% in 2018-19 compared to 2.6% in the previous year. The crude oil sector continued its contraction in March, contracting 6.2% compared with a contraction of 6.1% in the previous month. Over 2018-19, the sector contracted 4.1% compared with a contraction of 0.9% in the previous year.
Refinery products, however, saw growth picking up in March to 4.3% compared with a contraction of 0.8% in February. The sector’s full-year growth nevertheless came in lower, at 3.1%, than the previous year’s 4.6%.
The natural gas sector saw growth slowing in March to 1.4% from 3.8% in February. The sector saw growth for the full year slipping to 0.8% in 2018-19 from 2.9% in 2017-18.
Fertilizer growth quickened in March to 4.3% from 2.5% in the previous month. The sector saw the full year’s performance grow 0.3% in 2018-19, compared with the nearly flat 0.03% registered in the previous year. The electricity sector posted a growth of 1.4% compared with 1.2% in February. The sector’s growth over FY19 however, was a slower 5.1% compared with 5.3% in the previous year.