Aided by a strong show from Coal, Cement and electricity sectors, the output of eight core industries grew 5.2 percent in March 2024. This was higher than overall 4.2 percent growth recorded in March 2023, but much lower than 7.1 per cent growth in February 2024.

Six of the eight core industries recorded positive growth for the month under review. Only refinery products and fertilizers saw contraction in output in March 2024 at 0.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Coal, cement and electricity clocked growth rates of 8 per cent or above bolstering the overall growth rate for March 2024.

The eight core industries’ growth for entire 2023-24 came in at 7.5 percent, lower than 7.8 percent in previous year, official data released by Commerce and Industry Ministry showed 

The eight core industries —coal, natural gas, crude oil, refinery products, fertilizers, cement, steel and electricity —comprise 40.27 percent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

The government has also now revised upwards the eight core industries output growth for December 2023 to 5 percent. Last month, the government had revised upwards the November 2023 core industries growth to 7.9 percent. 

Also read: India needs ‘hard reforms’ to reach 7.5% growth, says HSBC

The monthly readings for September 2023 and October 2023 were also revised upwards in earlier months.

In March 2024, coal sector output grew 8.7 percent (11.7 percent in March 2023); crude oil at 2 percent (-2.8percent); natural gas at 6.3 percent (2.7 percent); refinery products at -0.3 percent (1.5 percent); fertilizers at -1.3 percent (9.7 percent); cement at 10.6 percent (-0.2 percent); steel at 5.5 percent (12.1 percent) and electricity at 8.0 percent (-1.6 percent)


Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, Head Research and Outreach, ICRA Ltd, said the core sector growth eased to 5.2 percent in March 2024, as the leap year effect faded, with five of the components reporting a flattening trend in the sequential months. 

“Similar to the trend displayed by the core sector, IIP growth is likely to moderate somewhat in March 2024, as the leap year effect fades. We project the IIP growth at 3.5-5 percent in March 2024”, Nayar added.

Also read: India’s currency in circulation reflects strong economic performance

Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, Bank of Baroda, said that coal and cement were the star performers with growth of 8.7 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. “The factors driving this growth is general industrial activity as well as infra push of the government,” e said.

Sabnavis highlighted that the energy basket of crude, gas and refinery products showed different tendencies. Natural gas was up by 6.3 percent while that of refinery products was down marginally due to lower growth in exports. Crude production was up by around 2 percent.

“We expect growth of around 5-6 percent in Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month,” he said.