Manufacturers post fastest growth in a year in Feb

BANGALORE Mon Mar 3, 2014 12:34pm IST

An employee works at the production line of a carpet manufacturing factory in Jammu September 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta/Files

An employee works at the production line of a carpet manufacturing factory in Jammu September 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mukesh Gupta/Files

Related Topics

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Indian manufacturing activity and new orders showed their strongest growth in a year in February, according to a survey released on Monday that suggested that the worst is over for Indian factories struggling through an economic slowdown.

The survey's results should provide some relief after data on Friday showed Asia's third-largest economy grew by a slower-than-expected 4.7 percent annually in the three months through December, dragged lower by a contraction in manufacturing and mining.

The HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which gauges the business activity of India's factories but not its utilities, rose to 52.5 in February, its highest in a year, from 51.4 in January.

Overall new orders for factory goods, which rose to a one-year high of 54.9 contributed to the surge. Export orders climbed to their highest in eight months.

"Manufacturing activity picked up further in February. New order flows have firmed, with the improvement in external demand and the reduction in macroeconomic uncertainty since last summer," said Leif Eskesen, Chief Economist for India & ASEAN at HSBC.

Opinion polls show the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to win the largest block in parliament in a general election due by May, but it is uncertain how much support it will need from smaller regional parties to form a coalition.

While some potential coalition partners could be put off by Narendra Modi's brand of Hindu nationalism, the BJP's candidate for prime minister is regarded as business friendly and dynamic, and several leading industrialists have voiced their support.

The HSBC survey showed a sharp rise in input prices in February although firms passed these rises on at a slower pace than last month. Costlier raw material prices for manufacturers could lead to higher consumer price inflation, which was running at 8.79 percent annually in January.

The Reserve Bank of India has unofficially started targeting consumer prices to frame its policy and any signs of rising costs will likely pressure the central bank to hike rates again.

The RBI has hiked the repo rate thrice since September, cementing its inflation fighting credentials, although it indicated at its January policy-setting meeting that rates would likely be kept on hold if inflation showed signs of subsiding.

But the IMF expects the RBI to continue raising its policy interest rates and also expects India's consumer price index to remain near double digits well into next year driven by food prices.

"Underlying inflation pressures remain potent, which was evident from the jump in the input price component of the PMI survey. This will keep RBI hawkish and likely compel it to raise rates a bit further this year," said Eskesen.

(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Republic Day

Reuters Showcase

Coal Mining

Coal Mining

India to open coal to commercial mining firms soon, minister says  Full Article 

RBI Loan Rules

RBI Loan Rules

RBI relaxes overseas loan recast rules   Full Article 

E-commerce Firms

E-commerce Firms

Amazon, e-commerce rivals fuel commercial property boom in India  Full Article 

Growth Forecasts

Growth Forecasts

Indian economic growth forecasts pegged back, despite rate cuts: Reuters Poll.  Full Article 

Uber is Back

Uber is Back

Uber back in Delhi; govt says must await approval.  Full Article 

Markets at Record

Markets at Record

Sensex rises to record after ECB stimulus programme.  Full Article 

Pharma Sector

Pharma Sector

Ipca Labs hit by FDA ban on plant for standard violations.  Full Article | Related Story 

Forex Reserves

Forex Reserves

India FX reserves at record high as RBI fortifies defences  Full Article 

QE for Euro Zone

QE for Euro Zone

ECB launches 1 trillion euro rescue plan to revive euro economy.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage