The country’s industrial output jumped seven per cent in June to a five-month high, due to a boost in manufacturing growth as well as an uptick in capital goods production.
In June, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew at almost double the pace of May when it had risen 3.92 per cent. This can be attributed mainly to the manufacturing segment — constituting the bulk of the index at 77.6 per cent — growing by 6.9 per cent, up from only 2.8 per cent in May.
Among the 23 sub-sectors within manufacturing, only four recorded a year-on-year contraction, down from 10 in May. Industries such as electronics, auto, pharma, food, metals, non-metallic products etc, continued to do well. Economists said that higher growth rates within manufacturing resulted due to favourable base effect of negative growth in 2017 for manufacturing and the overall industry. “While the progress is very good, it needs to be seen if this can be sustained, as this growth in June comes on top of major destocking and production cuts undertaken last year due to GST. If these rates are sustained over the next 2-3 quarters, we can hope to get to the 5-6 per cent mark for the year, which will be a significant recovery. We can expect a slack in consumption during July and August, which should bounce back subsequently once the festival season begins from late august,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings.
On the other hand, mining output rose 6.6 per cent in June, in line with expectations. Subsequently, growth in electricity generation was at 8.5 per cent, more than double the 4.2 per cent in May. The sensitive capital goods segment, which connotes investments, saw output rise 9.6 per cent. This was a departure from the declining pace of growth in capital goods production.
In May, the sector had seen a 7.56 per cent rise, down from the 11.9 per cent in April.
Similarly, growth in the infrastructure/construction goods segment also picked up in June at 8.5 per cent, much ahead of the 4.9 per cent seen in the previous month when cement and steel production had taken a dip.
“The encouraging news is the jump in production of capital goods and infrastructure/construction goods” said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Even on a low base of last year, this could be the reflection of the positive investment trend, in sectors such as roads, railways and affordable housing. What is also noteworthy is the spike in consumer durables demand," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
In June, the consumer durables segment showed signs of firmly escaping the spell of low growth and contraction seen over the past few months, with growth jumping more than 13 per cent, up from only 4 per cent in May. A sharp contraction in gold jewellery output — a possible outcome of the multi-billion-dollar Nirav Modi scam — had contributed to the subdued growth in the greater part of 2018, economists had earlier pointed out.
However, growth estimates in the medium term were not clear. "Primary goods — one of the lead indicators of industrial growth — is exhibiting good growth and gives confidence of sustained industrial recovery. But intermediate goods — the other lead indicator — does not give much confidence on sustainability of industrial growth. Nonetheless, a second consecutive year of near-normal monsoon, higher MSP, and government focus towards infrastructure and housing is likely to keep demand momentum strong," said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist at India Ratings & Research.