India's Economy Expands 8.1%

India's economy expanded 8.1% in the three months to June thanks to strong industrial growth and booming consumer demand, official data showed Sept. 30. The fiscal first quarter figures exceeded many analysts' forecasts of around 7% growth and prompted a number to say they would hike their estimates for the full year ending March 2006.

The strong performance came despite a dip in farm sector output which accounts for nearly a quarter of India's GDP and employs 70% of the workforce in the country of more than one billion people.

"The manufacturing sector is doing exceptionally well. It shows we're well set for at least 8% growth," said Anjan Roy, economic advisor at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has forecast growth of 7% for the current financial year after the economy expanded 6.9 % the previous year.

India, which is among the world's fastest-growing economies, is seen maintaining strong growth despite soaring global oil prices thanks to robust industrial growth and rising consumer demand among its increasingly affluent middle class.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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