Core sectors output remain negative
In December 2020, the eight core sectors output growth remained in a negative trajectory for the 10th successive month with a contraction of 1.3 per cent during the month compared with negative growth of 1.3 per cent during November 2020 and 3 per centin December 2019. There has been an upward revision in the core sector output growth in November from -2.6 per cent to -1.4 per cent.
Barring coal and electricity, all other components of the core index continue to show de-growth. The cumulative index of eight core sector during April – December 2020 contracted by 10.1 per cent indicative of the adverse impact on industrial production during the lockdown period compared with the 0.6 per cent growth in the corresponding period of last year. Barring fertiliser, there was a broad based contraction across sectors during this period. Double digit decline in output during this period is recorded in natural gas, refinery, steel and cement.
Coal production growth grew by 2.2 per cent in December 2020, which is the slowest in the last 5 months. Coal production has recorded positive growth which indicates revival in demand for power post easing in lockdown and resumption of industrial activities.
Crude Oil production has fallen by 3.6 per cent in December 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions/lockdown, nonavailability of drilling equipment and less than planned contribution from workover wells, drilling wells and old wells. The negative growth in crude oil production has sustained for nearly 3 years.
Natural gas production in the country fell by 7.1 per cent in December largely due to a fall in output of western offshore fields of private/JV companies. This is the 19th consecutive month of de-growth in natural gas production.
Refinery production has fallen by 2.7 per cent and fall in production has been narrowing with each passing month with the easing of restrictions and as the economy has been slowly reflating. There has also been an increase in refinery utilisation during December ’20 which is now 101 per cent and this can be ascribed to the increase in demand for petroleum products as there is an uptick in economic activities. The month of December 2020 saw growth in consumption of LPG 7.4 per cent, Petrol (MS) 9.3 per cent, Bitumen 20.9 per cent, Lubes & Greases 8.5 per cent, Light Diesel Oil (LDO) 87.4 per cent and products categorised under “Others” 8.4 per cent compared with December 19.
Fertilizer production has fallen by 2.9 per cent due to a high base effect and as the rabi sowing season almost comes to an end.
Output of steel sector has contracted for the second consecutive month by 2.7 per cent in December after registering three consecutive month of positive growth during Aug-October 2020. Low demand from automobile sector and high raw material costs and relatively muted construction activities in parts of the country must have weighed on the steel production.
Cement production fell to a 4-month low falling by 9.7 per cent in December 2020 compared with -7.3 per cent in November 2020 and 5.4 per cent in December 2019. The fall can be ascribed to muted construction activities.
Electricity production grew by 4.2 per cent in December 2020 compared with 3.5 per cent in November 2020 on account of further normalisation of economic activity.
CARE Ratings’ View
Going ahead, the growth in the eight core sectors will be contingent upon the normalisation of economic activities and high base effect. The growth in industrial production is likely to be marginally positive but will be contingent on the growth in consumer durables segment.
Courtesy: CARE Ratings
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The article is authored by Sushant Hede, Associate Economist with CARE Ratings. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org | +91-22-6837 4348.
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