New Delhi, Jan. 31: The poor performance of coal, petroleum refinery products and natural gas pulled the core sector growth down to 2.1 per cent in December 2013 from 7.5 per cent in the same month a year ago.
It is, however, better than the previous two months in 2013. The eight core industries contracted 0.6 per cent in October and grew a modest 1.7 per cent in November.
Core sector growth stood at 2.5 per cent during the April- December period of the current fiscal compared with 6.8 per cent in the same period of 2012-13.
The infrastructure industries — fertilisers, cement, steel, electricity, crude, coal, petroleum refinery products and natural gas — have a weight of about 38 per cent on the index of industrial production (IIP).
Coal output contracted 0.6 per cent in December, while petroleum refinery production fell 1.7 per cent. Natural gas output contracted 9.9 per cent. Steel output growth slowed to 3.1 per cent, while cement production decelerated 1.1 per cent. Crude oil registered a growth of 1.6 per cent, while electricity generation expanded 6.7 per cent.
According to industry experts, slow growth in the core sector will impact IIP numbers for December, which are likely to be announced in the second week of February.
Dashing hopes of recovery, industrial production had contracted 2.1 per cent in November, the lowest in six months, mainly because of the poor performance of the manufacturing sector and lower output of consumer goods, particularly white goods.
Coal India tender
State-owned Coal India has once again invited fresh applications from interested entities on the import of coal that will be supplied to power plants under fuel supply agreements. The coal miner had to invite fresh applications as the earlier tender elicited no response.