New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI):The production of eight core-sector industries contracted by 2.5 per cent in February, the first time in 2012-13, pulled down by a steep drop in natural gas output.
Sector-wise, the month's biggest decline, of over 20 per cent, was shown by natural gas, followed by coal (-8 per cent), electricity generation (-4.1 per cent) and crude oil (-4 per cent).
In February 2012, output of the core sector industries had grown by 7.7 per cent on the levels of the same month of 2011.
The negative performance in reporting month pulled down the cumulative growth in 11 months of 2012-13 ended February to 2.6 per cent against 5.2 per cent during the corresponding period in 2011-12.
The eight industries are coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, finished steel, cement and electricity.
Together, they have a weightage of 37.9 per cent in the overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
During the month, fertiliser output also shrunk by 4 per cent against a 4.1 per cent growth in February, 2012.
However, cement output rose by 3.9 per cent against 9.8 per cent growth in the same month last year. At the same time, petroleum refinery products index rose by 4.3 per cent as compared to 6 per cent in the same month a year ago.
Steel production grew by merely 0.5 per cent as against 8.7 in February 2012.
The eight core sector industries had grown by 3.1 per cent in January and 2.5 per cent in the previous month.
According to experts, the decline in the core industries will reflect in the IIP numbers of February, which will be released in the second week of this month.
Industrial output grew by 2.4 per cent in January against one per cent in the same month a year ago.