India's factory output leaps surprise 6.8%

By Staff Reporter
AFP Asian Edition

Mar 12, 2012 02:35 EDT

India's industrial output surged by a more than expected 6.8 percent year-on-year in January, defying high interest rates and a global economic downturn.

The increase, which outpaced analysts' forecasts of 2.1 percent, was also significantly above the 1.8 percent expansion logged in December and mainly driven by a strong manufacturing performance.

Manufacturing production grew 8.5 percent in January, while electricity output was up 3.2 percent.

The central bank has hiked interest rates 13 times since March 2010 to battle inflation, but has kept them on hold since late last year amid signs price rises were cooling and the economy weakening.

Monday's data was welcomed by the government, which forecast last month that in the year to March economic growth would fall below 7.0 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Asia's third-largest economy will probably grow 6.9 percent, the government said, far below last year's budget projection of 9.0 percent and down from the previous year's 8.4 percent, the government said.

Analysts have said they expect India's central bank to start unwinding interest rates from four-year highs as early as this week to spur the economy.

Source: AFP Asian Edition


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