Industrial output contracted 4.3% in September compared to the same month last year, government data showed on Monday. This is even slower than the 1.1% contraction in August, which was the worst figure in six years. The output had grown 4.6% in July, and 4.8% in September 2018.
The output of eight core sectors of the Indian industry – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity – declined by 5.2% in September, data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry last month showed. These eight core sectors had expanded by 4.3% in the corresponding month last year. The eight sectors have 40.27% of the weight of all sectors that figure in the monthly Index of Industrial Production data.
The cumulative industrial growth over the April-September period stood at 1.3%.
Seventeen out of the 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed a decline in output in September as compared to the same month last year, the government said.
The manufacturing sector, which contributes 77% to the index, declined by 3.9% in September as compared to the growth of 4.8% in the same month last fiscal. The index declined 8.5% year-on-year for the mining sector and 2.6% for the electricity sector.
The worst decline of 24.8% was seen in the industry group “manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers”. This was followed by a decline of 23.6% in “manufacture of furniture” and decline of 22% in “manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment”, the government data showed.
The Indian economy has been struggling with an economic slowdown for several months. The economic growth rate slipped to a six-year low of 5% in the April-June quarter. This was the fourth straight quarter of slowdown. The Reserve Bank of India on October 4 revised India’s projected growth rate for 2019-’20 downwards to 6.1%, while the Asian Development Bank cut its growth forecast from 7% to 6.5% in September.
Credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has also revised its outlook on the Indian economy from “stable” to “negative”, citing increased risks that are likely to keep Gross Domestic Product growth slower than in the past. Last month, the International Monetary Fund lowered India’s projected growth in the current financial year to 6.1% but said it would rebound to 7% in the 2020-’21 financial year.
The crisis has hit the automobile sector the most. Data released earlier in the day showed passenger vehicle sales rose for the first time in 12 months in October, albeit a marginal 0.28%. The slowdown so far was one of the worst to have disrupted the automobile industry since the collection of data on vehicle sales started in 1997.