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India's March Industrial Output Grows at Slowest Pace in Six Years

Weak manufacturing sector

As tighter credit to stem rising inflation hit manufacturing, India's industrial production rose at the slowest pace for six years in March, the government said May 12. Industrial output growth gained three percent in March from the same month a year ago, a sharp slowdown from February when it rose 8.6%.

For the financial year ended March, industrial output gained 8.1%, compared to 11.6% for the year earlier.

An across-the-board weakening in the manufacturing, mining and electricity sectors surprised analysts and comes as unwelcome news for the Congress-led coalition government which faces elections in just over a year.

Last week, India said annual inflation rose marginally to a near four-year high at 7.6% on the back of rising food prices. The latest figures came a day after the government halted futures trading in key staple foods such as chickpeas, soybean oil and potatoes for four months to try and tame surging prices. India also tightened its monetary policy last month to curb spending, as the government battles discontent over rising prices.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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