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Steady growth in consumer durables output: Survey

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THERE has been a steady growth in the production of consumer durables during April-March 2001-02 compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, according to the latest Ascon survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The survey shows that within the sector, the growth figures for different segments varied during the year based on shifting consumer preferences and other external factors.

It also shows that the vehicle industry has recorded an overall growth in production of 13 per cent during 2001-02 from a negative growth of -2 per cent recorded during the previous year.

In the two-wheeler segment, while motorcycles registered a growth of 33 per cent, both scooter and mopeds registered a negative growth of -1 per cent and -29 per cent, respectively. Cars, on the other hand, recorded a growth of 10 per cent.

However, other segments of the vehicle industry did not do so well, with HCVs recording a growth of three per cent, while both the LCV and the multi-utility vehicles sector recorded negative growth of -20 per cent and -3 per cent, respectively.

The survey shows that the forecast for the next six months is a growth of seven per cent for the vehicle industry. Some of the constraints that need to be tackled are low demand, lack of investments on infrastructure projects, lack of auto finance at affordable rates, increase in sales tax from four per cent to 12 per cent and the postponement of VAT from April 2002 to April 2003.

In the consumer electronic sector, VCRs, VCPs, VCDs and DVDs have registered a growth of 50 per cent in production. Barring black and white televisions which have registered a negative growth of -25 per cent, the other consumer electronic items such as colour television, audio products, clocks and watches have recorded a moderate growth of seven per cent, five per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

On the export front, however, there has been a marginal increase in export growth from 10 per cent during 2000-01 to 12 per cent during 2001-02, the survey indicates.

Further, the survey shows that the refrigerator sector has been seeing a steady growth in production at four per cent compared to a negative growth of - 5 per cent during the previous year.

However, while the growth in sales of refrigerators has gone up from -4.5 per cent during 2000-01 to four per cent during 2001-02, exports have fallen from a positive growth of 10 per cent last year to -6 per cent this year.

The survey shows that though the air-conditioner segment recorded a 15 per cent growth in production during 2001-02, it was lower than last year's growth of 20 per cent. Similarly, while water coolers recorded a marginal increase from 3.5 to five per cent, the growth in washing machines continued to be a negative -5 per cent.

The outlook for the next six months in terms of production of air-conditioners is 15-20 per cent, while that for sales and exports is in the range of 5-10 per cent and 0-5 per cent, respectively.

Both IT hardware (domestic) and personal computers recorded a high production growth of 15 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. While the growth for the next six months for hardware has been pegged at 20-30 per cent, that of personal computers has been estimated at 20-25 per cent, the survey shows.

The only segment that did not achieve a steady growth is the rubber goods industry. The overall production growth of the industry was 4.5 per cent this year. Besides auto tubes which achieved a growth of 8.5 per cent, all items of the rubber industry either recorded low or negative growth.

While rubber footwear and rubber hoses recorded a negative growth of - 4 per cent each during 2001-02, rubber conveyor belting registered a growth of 0.5 per cent, down from 4.5 per cent during the previous year. The trend in production, sales and export growth for the next six months would continue to vary between five and 10 per cent, the survey shows.

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