Bringing some cheer to an otherwise disturbed industry, India's factory output in January gained momentum and rose 2.6% against 1.1% increase during the corresponding month of 2014, even as retail inflation slowed at 5.37% in February against 7.88% in the like month of last year.
Official data on Index for Industrial Production (IIP) showed that the rise in the total factory output was mainly led by a 3.3-% expansion in manufacturing, as also 2.7% in electricity, even as mining activity declined 2.7%.
The data on Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures retail inflation, showed a rise of 4.95% in the urban areas and a bit more at 5.79% in the rural segment, to take the combined figure to 5.37% in February.
The CPI was, however, marginally higher when compared to the figure of 5.19% for January 2015. The February food inflation stood at 6.79%.
As per final CPI inflation rate figures for January 2015 furnished by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the CPI urban for January stood at 4.96% and rural at 5.34%. January food inflation stood at 6.14%.
Meanwhile, there was a massive increase in January 2015 IIP which was up 2.6% from a growth of 1.7% during December 2014. In November 2014, the IIP had increased by 3.8%, while in October it decelerated by 4.2%.
The cumulative growth of IIP for April-January 2014-15 stood at 2.5% while the figure for the corresponding period of the previous fiscal stood at 0.1%.
Manufacturing of basic and capital goods showed growth during the month under review. However, production of intermediate goods fell. Production of basic goods grew by 4.5%, while capital goods production was up 12.8%, though intermediate goods declined by 0.8%.
The production of consumer durables and consumer non-durables plunged. The production of consumer durables was down 5.3%, while consumer non-durables segment marginally went down by 0.1% in the month under review.
The overall consumer goods segment was down 1.9%.
Overall, 14 out of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during the month under review.
Segment-wise, high positive growth was reported in boilers (20.8%), room air conditioners (23.4%), rice (25.6%), carbon steel (29.4%), cable, rubber insulated (39.5%), PVC pipes and tubes (41.0%), plastic machinery including moulding machinery (41.1%), gems and jewellery (44.4%) and stainless/alloy steel (68.5%).
Segment-wise, high negative growth was reported in colour TV sets (-20.6%), wooden furniture (-22.7%), generator/alternator (- 23.4%), steel structures (-34.2%), computers (-39.7%), tractors (-40.6%), ship building and repairs (-42%) and telephone instruments, including mobile phones and accessories (-57.9%).