India's Industrial Output Jumps for Seventh Month

Manufacturing output, which accounts for 80% of industrial output, grew by 6.8% from a year earlier.

India's industrial output climbed for a seventh month in a row in July driven by strong consumer demand, official data showed on Sept. 11, fuelling hopes of an economic rebound.

India's industrial production jumped 6.8% from a year earlier following a revised 8.2% leap in June, figures from the Central Statistical Organization for July showed.

While the momentum of industrial output growth slowed from the previous month, "the important point is that the trend is up and the outlook remains generally encouraging," said HSBC economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde.

Manufacturing output, which accounts for 80% of industrial output, also grew by 6.8% from a year earlier in July after an 8% rise in June.

The rise was driven by inventory re-building and a pick-up in consumer demand, analysts said. Consumer durables production has risen nearly 20% in the March to July period -- the highest rate since June 2006.

Figures late last month showed the economy grew by 6.1% year-on-year in the three months to June, picking up pace from the previous quarter when it expanded by 5.8%. Analysts said the data signaled the emergence of Asia's third-largest economy from the global downturn, albeit at a slower rate than giant neighbor China which grew 7.9% in the same period.

Earlier this week, India's Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla predicted growth for the current financial year would be in the same range as the 6.7% the country logged last year. India's growth has fallen from the annual 9% levels it clocked during the three previous years as a result of the global economic slump.

But recent data such as sales of passenger cars, which jumped nearly 26% in August to 120,669 units from the same month a year earlier, has spurred expectations that India's economy could pick up pace.

The country's Congress government is seeking to steer growth back to at least 9%-- the minimum it says is needed to make a dent in the country's widespread poverty.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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