IIP contracts 1.2% in Feb; retail inflation moves up

IIP contracts 1.2% in Feb; retail inflation moves up

The fall in industrial output as per data released on Wednesday was mainly on account of a decline in the manufacturing sector and lower offtake of capital as well as consumer goods.

The manufacturing sector, which accounts for over 75 percent of the index, contracted by 2 percent in February against a rise of 0.6 percent in same month a year ago.

This came after industrial production in January registered a 0.3 percent monthly increase in both the eurozone and the EU.

Industrial output dropped 0.3 percent month-over-month in February, reversing a 0.3 percent rise in January, which was revised down from 0.9 percent.

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While mining and electricity output grew 3.3 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, output of manufacturing declined 2 percent.

"It only indicates that the growth remains fragile in manufacturing and we need continued efforts to make the sector competitive".

"The cumulative growth for the period April-February 2016-17 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 0.4 percent", the official statement said.

Also, the consumer price index-based inflation rose to a 5-month high of 3.81 per cent in March against 3.65 per cent in February. Retail inflation for March was a little elevated against February's 3.65%.

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In comparison to the same month one year-ago, production was ahead by 1.2% (consensus: 1.9%).

However, vegetables continued to remain in the negative zone with deflation of (-) 8.57 percent in March 2017, as per the data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Meanwhile, retail inflation rose marginally to 3.81 per cent in March from 3.55 per cent in February 2017.

CARE Ratings said that the worrisome feature is that non-food components still witnessed high rates: clothing 4.6%, fuel and light 5.6%, housing 5%, transport 6%.

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"If this is so, the RBI inflation forecast of 4-4.5 per cent will be materially undershot", it added.

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