India Factory Output Misses Estimates as Domestic Demand Falters

India’s industrial output rose less than economists estimated in August as consumer spending moderated, adding pressure on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government to intensify efforts to revive the economy.

Output at factories, utilities and mines advanced 0.6 percent from a year earlier after a revised 2.75 percent climb in the previous month, the Statistics Ministry said in a statement in New Delhi today. The median of 33 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 2 percent gain.

Singh’s steps, ranging from fewer restrictions on foreign investors to faster approvals for road and power projects, have so far failed to stem a slowdown in economic growth. India also faces consumer-price inflation of almost 10 percent, which led central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan to raise the benchmark interest rate last month even as investment moderates.

“Investment in infrastructure has to be revived,” Soumya Kanti Ghosh, an economist at State Bank of India in Mumbai, said before the data. Supply bottlenecks also have to be eased to reduce price pressures and give the central bank room to loosen monetary policy, Ghosh said.

The rupee, which has slid 13 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months, strengthened 0.5 percent to 61.08 at the close in Mumbai. The S&P BSE Sensex index advanced 1.3 percent. The yield on the 10-year government bond maturing May 2023 rose to 8.49 percent from 8.42 percent yesterday.

The currency has appreciated about 13 percent since reaching a record low on Aug. 28, helped by Rajan’s efforts to attract dollar inflows after taking charge at the RBI last month.

Interest Rates

Rajan has raised the repurchase rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 7.5 percent to tackle inflation, while easing liquidity curbs imposed in July to shore up the rupee.

Growth in Asia’s third-largest economy is “somewhere near the low,” the governor said in a speech in Washington yesterday. The pace should accelerate, helped by exports and farm output (INPIINDY), he said.

Shipments abroad have climbed since July, snapping a three-month stretch of declines. They rose 11 percent in September as imports dropped 18 percent and the trade deficit shrank to $6.76 billion, the narrowest since March 2011, according to an Oct. 9 release and previously reported data.

Manufacturing fell 0.1 percent in August from a year earlier, while capital goods output slid 2 percent, today’s data showed. Mining declined 0.2 percent and electricity output increased 7.2 percent.

Wholesale prices rose 6 percent in September from a year earlier, holding close to the fastest pace in six months, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey before a report due Oct. 14. Consumer prices increased 9.5 percent last month, a separate survey projects.

Slower Indian expansion has hurt companies such as Tata Motors Ltd., India’s biggest automaker by revenue. Tata’s local deliveries dropped 35 percent in September.

The economy will expand 5 percent to 5.5 percent in the fiscal year ending March, the Finance Ministry forecasts. HSBC Holdings Plc predicts slower growth of 4 percent, which would be the weakest pace in more than a decade.

To contact the reporter on this story: Unni Krishnan in New Delhi at ukrishnan2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at dtenkate@bloomberg.net

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