Indian Output Increases 9.1%

Manufacturing output, which accounts for 80% of the industrial production index, grew by 9.3% in September

Fueling hopes Asia's third-largest economy is firmly on the mend, India's industrial output jumped by a bigger-than-forecast 9.1% in September from a year earlier, data showed on Nov. 12.

Industrial output was underpinned by robust consumer spending in September for the country's biggest religious festival season, as well as by government stimulus and interest rates at record lows.

Manufacturing output, which accounts for 80% of the industrial production index, grew by 9.3% in September from a year earlier. Mining rose by 8.6% and electricity production expanded by 7.9%.

Production slowed in September from an 11% rise the previous month, but the double-digit increase in August had been partly spurred by a sharply lower year-earlier base effect.

Production of consumer durables, particularly hard hit as India suffered the fallout from the international slump, grew by 22.2% in September.

Economists said the official figures were clear pointers to an economic rebound. "The strength of the numbers is better than expected. The recovery seems definitely underway," Yes Bank chief economist Shubhada Rao said.

The Indian government is targeting growth of 6.5% this financial year and over 7% next year. Before the worldwide downturn, the economy logged at least 9% growth for three years.

India's output growth is still slower than in neighboring emerging market giant China where figures on Nov. 11 showed industrial production expanded by 16.1% in October from a year ago.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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