AI (AFP) - Indias industrial output grew a better than expected 17.6 percent year on year in April, data showed Friday, adding pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates again to tame inflation.
Indias growth in recent months has been led by manufacturing and services as consumer demand continues to improve after the global downturn. Factory output jumped 19.4 percent, while mine production grew 11.4 percent and utilities six percent, in the eighth straight month of double-digit expansion. Analysts had forecast monthly growth at near 13 percent.
Official data showed production of capital goods surged 72 percent, while consumer durables such as whitegoods rose 37 percent in the same period.
Analysts expect said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will gradually raise rates but said immediate action was unlikely. However, it is thought the bank will announce a hike in its July review, as inflation, including food prices, causes concern.
Indias annual inflation cooled slightly in April to 9.59 percent, from 9.9 percent the previous month, but is well above the RBIs projected rate of 5.5 percent by March 2011.
Annual inflation data for May is due next Monday.
Earlier this week, annual food inflation rose to 16.74 percent, as the cost of pulses, potatoes and fruits rose.
We could see gradual tightening of rates, as inflation is higher than expected, said Mridul Saggar, chief economist with Kotak Securities.
The central bank in April hiked key interest rates for the second time in a month as inflation, driven by spiralling food prices, spilled into the wider economy. This (production) data is a shocking surprise. Growth was led by consumer durables and capital goods, indicating strong domestic growth, said Siddhartha Sanyal, economist with brokerage Edelweiss Securities.
Analysts said Indias recovery appeared to be on track for the central bank and government to unwind stimulus measures put in place to help weather the global slump.
Indias economy grew 7.4 percent for the year ended March, data showed last month.