India's industrial output surges 7.3 pct in June

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India's industrial output surges 7.3 pct in June

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's industrial output rose 7.3 percent in the year through June, compared with 6.2 percent growth a month earlier, due to robust consumer demand, the Central Statistical Organisation said on Thursday.

In the year to June 2003, industrial production grew 6.7 percent. India does not release seasonally adjusted data.

Consumer demand has been up since last year's monsoon rains, which were the best in a decade. Good rains boost rural demand as nearly 600 million Indians earn a living off the land and a bad harvest leads to a dip in their incomes.

The manufacturing sector, which forms more than 75 percent of industrial output, rose 8.0 percent in June from a year earlier. Consumer durables grew 14.1 percent in June, compared with 0.3 percent in the year to June 2003.

The capital goods sector, which reflects the level of industrial activity, was 17.5 percent higher in June compared with 10.9 percent in the year-ago period.

However, analysts expect demand to slow this year as the monsoon, the lifeline of the vast farm-dependent economy, has been erratic this season.

The June-September southwest monsoon began on schedule but vanished in the crucial sowing month of July, which is expected to hit farm output. The rains revived in the first week of August.

The best rains in a decade last year stoked demand both in urban and rural areas and helped India's economy expand by 8.2 percent between the January-March quarters of 2003 and 2004 -- one of the fastest growth rates in the world.

Industry accounts for nearly a quarter of India's gross domestic product.
 

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