Coming in below analyst forecasts and far down on its 2010 peaks, India's industrial output growth slowed to 3.6% from a year earlier in February, official data showed on April 11.
February's output was less than January's revised 3.95% annual growth and substantially lower than its 15.1% expansion in February 2010, when Asia's third-largest economy was emerging from the global downturn.
Analysts had expected India's industrial growth in February to be around 5.2%.
The below-expectation output comes after eight interest rate hikes in 12 months to tame stubborn inflation -- the most aggressive monetary tightening in Asia -- prompted manufacturers to scale back production.
Manufacturing output, which accounts for 80% of the industrial index, rose 3.5% in February, down from 16.1% growth a year earlier.
India's output performance contrasted with neighboring China's industrial production, which expanded by 14.1% in the first two months of the year, compared with the same period in 2010.
India's government expects the economy to expand by 9% this fiscal year, ending in March 2012, beating the previous year's 8.6% growth.
But private economists say expansion may slacken to as low as 7.2% as resurgent oil prices, a stronger currency and further rate hikes take their toll.
Such growth is high by Western standards but it is far below the double-digit levels India's government says are needed to raise living standards of the country's impoverished millions.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011