New Delhi: India’s factory output growth turned flat in March after rising during the month before, even as the annual retail inflation for April rose to 5.39% from 4.83% in March, official data showed on Thursday.

The factory output for February, based on the index of industrial production, which had turned positive at 2%, after two straight months of decline, rose negligibly by 0.1% in March, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office.

As regards annual retail inflation, based on consumer price index, the rise came after two straight months of decline. The inflation rates for the preceding three months were 4.83% for March, 5.26 percent for February and 5.69% for January.

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At the same time, the annual food inflation rose sharply to 6.32% from 5.21%. This apart, the annual retail inflation in the rural economy was relatively higher at 6.09%, against 4.68% in the urban areas.

Worryingly for industry, the index for manufacturing, which has the maximum weight in the overall index, actually fell by 1.2% in the month under review. While the index for mining also fell, albeit marginally by 0.1%, that for electricity grew by a robust 11.3%.

Around the same time last month, there was much to cheer as official data forecast the rains during the upcoming monsoon season to be above normal, and that retail inflation fell to a six-month low while factory output rose after three months of decline.

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