The output of eight core infrastructure sectors contracted by 1.3% in December, government data showed on Friday. With this, the performance of core sector industries has shown a negative trend on a year-on-year basis for ten consecutive months.

In December, the eight sectors witnessed a slightly weaker contraction as compared to November, when the they had shrunk by 1.4%, according to the revised data released by the government. In December 2019, the core sectors had grown by 0.4%.

All sectors, barring fertilisers, recorded a negative growth in December, with cement (-18.3%) and steel (-16.7%), showing the sharpest contraction. The output has declined 10.1% on a cumulative basis till December, since the start of this financial year, according to the data. The eight sectors account for 40.27% of the total industrial production in India.

The performance of these sectors is instrumental in India’s hopes of economic recovery, which is struggling after registering negative growth for the last two quarters. India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate contracted by 7.5% in the second quarter (July-September), after shrinking by an unprecedented 23.9% in the first three month period (April-June) of the financial year. Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of India predicted a 0.1% growth in the third quarter (October-December).

Earlier on Friday, the government in its Economic Survey said that India’s economy will contract by 7.7% in this fiscal, while it is projected to grow at 11% in 2021-’22.