The combined index of eight core industries was 132.1 in December 2018, 2.6% higher compared to the index in the corresponding month in 2018, the government said on Thursday. Its cumulative growth between April and December was 4.8%.

The core sector growth had hit a 16-month low of 3.5% in November.

These industries – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity – comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production, or IIP. According to the last round of data released on IIP, industrial output grew 0.5% in November 2018 compared to the same month in 2017 – the slowest in 17 months.

Coal production increased 0.9% in December compared to the corresponding month the year before while the crude oil output declined 4.3%. Natural gas production increased by 4.2%, the government said.

The production of refinery products and fertilisers fell 4.8% and 2.4% in December whereas the output of the steel and cement industries increased 13.2% and 11.6%, the government said. The production of electricity increased 4%, the data showed.