The Commerce and Industry Ministry on Tuesday said the core sector growth of eight industries, had slowed down to 3.4% in January compared to the corresponding month in 2016, PTI reported. The slowdown faced by the coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity sectors was attributed to a contraction in the supply of refinery products, fertilisers and cement.

Crude oil reported positive growth of 1.3% in January 2017, against its 4.7% growth during the same period in 2016. Natural gas and steel output increased by 11.9% and 11.4% in January.

The core sectors account for 38% of India’s industrial production. The sectors reported an expansion of 4.8% in the April-January period, against the 2.9% growth during the same period in the previous financial year, the ministry’s statement said.

This is the core industries’ slowest expansion rate since August 2016, when it was pegged at 3.2%.