India's Manufacturing Output Expanded

Prices charged by manufacturers also posted their strongest rise in three months as work backlogs jumped to a record high.

April marks the 13th month in a row that India's manufacturing output increased. The figures came as Asia's third-largest economy continues to shake off the effects of the global financial crisis.

India's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 57.2, down slightly from 57.8 in March, the survey by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

While output rose at a weaker pace in April than in the previous month -- retreating from a 20-month peak in February -- the data "still signaled a considerable strengthening in the health of the industry," the survey said.

Prices charged by manufacturers also posted their strongest rise in three months as work backlogs jumped to a record high, said the survey, which covers over 500 companies.

"Demand is growing more strongly than supply, giving companies the confidence to push through price rises," HSBC economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde said.

"India is in for a protracted period of rate hikes, the extent of which will surprise most forecasters."

The Reserve Bank of India has already hiked benchmark interest rates twice in two months to curb inflation, currently running at a 17-month high of 9.9%.

Last week, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee projected economic growth this year at 8.5% compared with an estimated 7.2% expansion last year, boosted by forecasts of a normal monsoon.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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