Government Suspends Release Of Factory Output Data For Lockdown Period: 10 Facts

The government suspended the release of a headline figure for factory output or industrial production for May, due to inadequate data collection on account of the coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown. That marked a second straight month the government did not release a headline figure for factory output, a key indicator of industrial activity in the economy determined by the Index of Industrial Production. Most industrial businesses were not operating from March onwards, according to a statement by the Ministry of Statistics.

Here are 10 things to know:

  1. However, limited data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed industrial activity picked up in May in comparison with the previous month.

  2. The index rose to 88.4 in May from 53.6 in April, 88.4 as compared to 53.6 for April, “indicating a graded pickup in industrial activity in the economy”, the statistics ministry said.

  3. “It may not be appropriate to compare the IIP for May 2020 with those of months preceding the COVID 2019 pandemic,” the official statement said. Data for June will be released on August 11.

  4. Calculations based on available data showed industrial production shrank 34.71 per cent in May according to news agency Reuters.

  5. Even that reading fell short of estimates. Analysts in a poll by Reuters had forecast a 37.8 per cent drop in factory output in May.

  6. The statistics office said that the number of units responding has improved in May 2020 as compared to the earlier months of lockdown.

  7. Last month, the government had suspended the release of industrial production readings for April, and also data on consumer inflation for the past two months.

  8. Although the government has eased many restrictions imposed for a period of more than two months starting March 25, some say it will be a while before industrial activity returns to pre-COVID-19 levels.

  9. “Despite some relaxations, the lockdown still continues so this data cannot be compared with previous months. Ever since the nationwide lockdown began, there has been an adverse impact on manufacturing, mining and infrastructure activities,” said Rahul Gupta, head of research-currency at Emkay Global Financial Services.

  10. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has predicted India’s GDP to shrink 4.5 per cent in 2020 amid an expected 4.9 per cent contraction in global output, a sharper fall than the 3 per cent contraction predicted in April.

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