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India's Aug infrastructure output grows 12.1%, fastest in over a year

FILE PHOTO: Labourers pull electricity cables to be laid underground along a road in Ahmedabad

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's infrastructure output expanded 12.1% year on year in August with growth across all sectors, government data showed on Friday, rising at its fastest pace in more than a year.

Infrastructure output, which comprises eight sectorsincluding coal and electricity, accounts for nearly 40% ofindustrial output.

Cement sector output grew 18.9% in the month, steel production jumped by 10.9% and the coal sector achieved 17.9% growth, the figures showed. Output of refined oil products grew 9.5%.

Aditi Nayar, an economist at ICRA, noted that a less intense than usual monsoon season had helped boost the infrastructure sector. Construction activity in particular typically halts during monsoons.

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Nayar also said that India's industrial output likely expanded by between 9% and 11% in August, on the back of higher infrastructure sector growth along with other factors such as rail freight growth.

In the first five months of the financial year that started

on April 1, infrastructure output rose 7.7% year on year, the data showed.

Separate data released on Friday showed that the government's capital expenditure, or spending on building infrastructure, was 3.74 trillion rupees in the first five months of fiscal year 2023/24, or 37.4% of the annual target - higher than 2.52 trillion rupees in the same period a year earlier.

(Reporting by Shivangi Acharya, Nikunj Ohri and Sarita Chaganti Singh; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Holmes)