Employees assemble radiator coil housings at the Avtomash-Radiator Plant (Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg)

India Factory Output Growth Unexpectedly Eases to Five-Month Low

(Bloomberg) -- India’s factory output expanded at the slowest pace in five months, underlining the need for Asia’s third-largest economy to boost investments and consumer spending for faster growth.

Growth in output from factories was 4.4 percent in March from a year earlier, the statistics ministry said in a statement in New Delhi Friday. The median of 35 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists was for a 6.2 percent increase. Industrial output for February was revised to 7 percent from 7.1 percent.

“The economy hasn’t really seen a recovery through the last financial year up to March,” said Madan Sabnavis, Mumbai-based chief economist at Care Ratings Ltd. “Unless consumers spend more or industry steps up investments, we expect this trend to continue.”

India’s manufacturing sector has been facing headwinds in recent months, with the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index easing to 51 in March from 52.1 in February. A number below 50 indicates a contraction.

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