Industrial output slows to 7.1%, retail inflation eases for third straight month

German exports

Industrial output fell 0.8 percent month-on-month in February, following a 0.6 percent drop in January. Meanwhile, the annual retail inflation eased for the third straight month in March to 4.28% following a drop in the food prices, the government data showed on Thursday."While there was an expected dip in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth in February as compared to the previous month, the pace of expansion was modestly higher than anticipated".

The monthly decline in manufacturing output was the first since March 2017.

This can be taken as a transitory change mainly on account of lower output in mining sector, said DK Srivastava, chief policy advisor at EY.

British manufacturing output fell unexpectedly in February, its first drop in nearly a year, according to official figures that added to signs the economy may have slowed in the first quarter.

Output of intermediate goods slid 0.8 percent and that of non-durable consumer goods dropped 0.5 percent.

A 1.6% decline in construction output was driven by infrastructure, private industrial work and repairs.

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Retail inflation based on the Consumer Prime Index (CPI) moderated in March due to easing food prices, including vegetables. CPI, a key data factored in by the RBI to decide the interest rate, was 4.44 per cent in February. Overall, inflation in the food basket was 2.81%, lower than 3.26% in February.

Economists had expected it to be 3.3% higher. The earlier low at 3.58 per cent was recorded in October 2017.

Economist Samuel Tombs says GDP growth may be weaker in the first quarter than the Bank of England has estimated, which casts doubt on whether a May interest-rate increase is as likely as market pricing suggests.

However, mining output declined by 0.3 per cent against a growth 4.6 per cent earlier. As per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), inflation in the vegetables segment cooled to 11.7 per cent in March from 17.57 per cent in the previous month. "IIP in February 2018 stands at 127.7, which is 7.1 percent higher as compared to the level in the month of February 2017".

The cumulative growth in these three sectors during April-February 2017-18 over the corresponding period of 2016-17has been 2.3 percent, 4.6 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.

Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg tweeted: "Another very good IIP growth number came out today". Manufacturing grew by 8.7 per cent marking fourth month of growth over 8.5 per cent.

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