Core sector output contracts by 6.5% in March as Covid-19 hits economic activity

Core sector industrial production in the country contracted by 6.5 per cent in March, under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.

Core sector output expanded at a faster rate of 5.5 per cent in February 2020, picking up from a slow rate of 2.2 per cent in January, as production started looking up after remaining in the negative for the period August-November 2019.
Cumulative core sector production growth during April-March 2019-20 stood at 0.6 per cent, according to the data released on Thursday.
Production in the eight core sector industries comprising coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity, which carry nearly 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), saw decline as the nationwide lockdown related to the Covid—18 pandemic hit industrial activity across sectors.
Coal production, which has a weight: 10.33 per cent in the general index of industrial production (IIP), increased by 4.0 per cent in March 2020 while cumulative coal production declined by 0.5 per cent during April-March 2019-20.
Production of crude oil (weight of 8.98 per cent in IIP) declined by 5.5 per cent in March 2020 while cumulative production of crude oil declined by 5.9 per cent during April-March 2019-20.
Production of natural gas (weight of 6.88 per cent in IIP) declined by15.2 per cent in March 2020 while its cumulative production declined by 5.7 per cent during April-March 2019-20.
Petroleum refinery production (weight of 28.04 per cent in IIP) declined by 0.5 per cent in March 2020 while its cumulative index increased by 0.2 per cent during April-March 2019-20.
Fertilizer production (weight of 2.63 per cent in IIP) declined by 11.9 per cent in March 2020 while its cumulative index increased by 2.7 per cent during April-March 2019-20.
Steel production (weight of 17.92 per cent) declined by 13.0 per cent in March 2020 over March 2019. Its cumulative index increased by 4.2 per cent during April-March 2019-20.
Cement production (weight of 5.37 per cent in IIP) declined by 24.7 per cent in March 2020 while is cumulative production declined by 0.8 per cent during April-March 2019-20.
Electricity generation (weight of 19.85 per cent in IIP) declined by 7.2 per cent in March 2020 while cumulative generation of electricity increased by 1 per cent during April-March 2019-20.