Growth in the core sector drops to 5.2% in March.

Due to the statistical impact of a high base, the growth of “core sectors” decreased to 5.2% in March from 7.1% in February, according to figures issued by the trade ministry on Tuesday. On the other hand, the output of eight key industries increased sequentially in March by 9.9%, the highest rate in a year.

The output of the core sector usually increases in March from February; however, the sequential growth between the two months in FY24 is smaller than the 11.4% growth averaged over the previous twelve years.

In contrast to the 7.8% increase seen in 2022–2023, the core sector’s output expanded at a three-year low of 7.5% over the whole fiscal year 2023–2024.

The growth of five sectors—coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, and steel—slowed in March compared to February levels on an annual basis, while the growth of cement, electricity, and fertilizers grew.

Refinery product production, which accounts for 28% of the core sector index’s weight, decreased by 0.3% in March compared to the previous year. February saw a 2.6% increase in output. Natural gas and crude oil output increased in February at a rate of 7.9% and 11.3%, respectively, but in March they decreased to 2% and 6.3%, respectively.

In March, the production of cement and coal increased by 10.6% and 8.7%, respectively, year over year. The growth rates for the two sectors were 11.6% and 9.1%, respectively, in February. According to economists, the government’s push for infrastructure as well as the increase in industrial activity and high electricity demand are to blame for the notable increase in the production of coal and cement.

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