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India April industrial output rises 2%, below forecast

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

India's industrial output growth skidded to a lower-than-expected two percent in April, data showed Wednesday, suggesting that recovery in Asia's third-largest economy remains sluggish.

The year-on-year growth figures from factories, mines and utilities undershot market forecasts of around a 2.5 percent and was down from a preliminary 2.5 percent increase.

Output expansion is still far below double-digit rates recorded in previous years when India's economy was booming.

The Indian rupee's slide to record lows against the dollar this week has raised doubts about the possibility of any more interest rate cuts soon to kickstart the economy.

The Congress-led government, buffeted by a string of corruption scandals, is anxious for signs of a growth turnaround before heading to the polls in the first half of 2014.

The economy has been struggling under the weight of high interest rates, uncomfortably strong consumer inflation and weak domestic and foreign investment, as well as graft scandals and disappointment with the slow pace of government reforms.

Manufacturing, which accounts for three-quarters of the Index of Industrial Production, grew 2.8 percent in April year-on-year.

Capital goods output of machinery and other products, seen as a key sign of corporate investment intentions, rose 1.0 percent.

New Delhi forecasts the economy will grow by at least six percent in the financial year that began April 1, after growing five percent last year -- its slowest rate in a decade.

Industrial output is tepid, experts say, partly due to bottlenecks caused by dilapidated highways, ports, power shortages and other infrastructure problems that dampen growth.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130612/india-april-industrial-output-rises-2-below-forecast