Covid Casualty: India's core industrial output down 8.5% in Aug

The deceleration rate in the production of India's eight major industries continued in August, official data showed on Wednesday.

As per the data, the Index of Eight Core Industries for August declined by 8.5 (provisional) per cent as compared to August 2019.

It had declined by (-) 8 per cent (revised) in July, compared to decline of (-) 12.9 per cent in June.

Though not comparable, the ECI index had slipped by (-) 0.2 per cent in August 2019.

"The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 117.6 in August 2020, which declined by 8.5 (provisional) per cent as compared to the Index of August, 2019. Its cumulative growth during April to August, 2020-21 has been (-) 17.8 per cent," said the Office of Economic Advisor, DPIIT, on the Index of Eight Core Industries for August 2020.

"Final growth rate of Index of Eight Core Industries for May 2020 is revised to (-) 21.4 per cent."

India's eight core industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

These industries comprise of coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement, and electricity.

On a sector-specific basis, the output of refinery products, which has the highest weightage of 28.03, declined (-) 19.1 per cent in August 2020 compared to the corresponding month of the last fiscal.

Similarly, electricity generation, which has the second highest weightage of 19.85, inched lower by (-) 2.7 per cent.

Steel production, the third most important component with weightage of 17.92, was lower by (-) 6.3 per cent during the month under review, whereas coal mining, with a 10.33 weightage, edged higher by 3.6 per cent.

The extraction of crude oil, which has an 8.98 weightage, declined by (-) 6.3 per cent during the month under consideration.

The sub-index for natural gas output, with a weightage of 6.88, declined by (-) 9.5 per cent.

Cement production, which has a weightage of 5.37, slid by (-) 14.6 per cent in the month under review.

However, fertiliser manufacturing, which has the least weightage -- only 2.63 -- rose by 7.3 per cent last month.

According to Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA: "With the underlying sectors reporting divergent trends, the contraction in the core sector deepened to 8.5 per cent in August 2020 from the revised 8 per cent in July 2020, a sudden stalling the momentum of the recovery seen since May 2020."

"The sequential worsening in the core sector's performance in August 2020 was led by the deeper de-growth in refinery products, crude oil, electricity and cement, even as coal recorded a turnaround to a growth in that month, the pace of expansion of fertilisers improved, and the contraction in natural gas and steel eased relative to July 2020."

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