New Delhi: India's manufacturing sector witnessed the weakest growth rate in nine months in August because of shrinking export orders and disruptions caused by power failures, an HSBC survey said.
Electricity outages across India in August caused disruption in production as factories went without power for hours on end. It also led to rise in work backlog.
“The momentum in the manufacturing sector eased further on the back of weak external demand and output disruptions caused by the major power failures in early August,” HSBC Chief Economist for India & ASEAN Leif Eskesen said, adding, “power failures also partly contributed to a rise in backlogs of work.”
On one hand, power cuts continued to hamper production, and on the other, export orders witnessed the second consecutive monthly dip because of “weaker international demand and unfavourable exchange rate conditions”, HSBC said.
Besides, input price rose at a slightly slower pace while output inflation picked up due to higher import costs and taxes.
“With the slowdown partly supply-driven and inflation risks still lingering, these numbers underscore that the room for policy rate cuts is very limited at the moment,” Eskesen said.
In its last quarterly monetary policy review, the Reserve Bank of India left key interest rates unchanged amid fears of deficient monsoon and high inflation.
The RBI also lowered the economic growth projection for the current fiscal to 6.5 per cent from its earlier estimate of 7.3 per cent, stating that the rising government expenditure poses risks to economic stability.
Besides, the RBI raised inflation forecast for the fiscal ending March, 2013 to 7 per cent, from the earlier projection of 6.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, according to official data, the poor showing by the manufacturing sector has pulled down the GDP growth to 5.5 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal.
The growth rate in the first quarter (April-June), according to the data released by the government last Friday, slipped to 5.5 per cent, from 8 per cent in the same period last fiscal on account of flat growth in manufacturing and quarrying sectors.