Core sector grows 6.8% in February
India’s infrastructure sector output grew 6.8% in February, slower than January’s upwardly revised 7.2% and economists said strength in the sector was being sustained despite problems in coal output. Data released by the commerce and industry department showed output in February 2010 stood at 4.2%. Growth in the April-February period in the six core industries spanning steel, petroleum refinery, crude oil, coal, cement and electricity stood at 5.7% compared to 5.4% in the same year ago period. Economists said February data showed that the infrastructure sector, which accounts for 27% of overall industrial output, remained robust. But they said overall industrial output in February would be around 3%. The industrial sector, hit by rising input costs, has been passing through a sluggish phase. Tuesday’s data showed that the coal sector remained a laggard, declining 5.7% in February compared to a growth of 6.7% in the same month a year ago. During April-February, coal production grew 0.1% compared to an increase of 7.9% during the same period in 2009-10. Crude oil production registered a growth of 12.2% in February 2011 compared to 4% in February 2010. Petroleum refinery production grew 3.2% in February 2011 compared to growth of 0.7% in February 2010.