New Delhi: India's manufacturing sector activity improved marginally in April, driven by rise in new business orders amid favourable demand conditions, amid easing inflationary pressures, says a monthly survey.
The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), rose from 51.0 in March to 51.6 in April, indicating faster improvement in the health of the country's manufacturing economy than in the prior month.
Inflationary pressures moderated for the second month in a row, with the softest increases for input costs and output charges reported since September 2017 and July 2017, respectively, the survey said.
Meanwhile, expectations of interest rate cuts have been mounting on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the wake of declining retail inflation and the need to fuel growth momentum.
In its first bi-monthly monetary policy for 2018-19 last month, the RBI had left the repo rate unchanged at 6 percent. The MPC maintained the status quo for the fourth consecutive time since August last year.
This is the ninth consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI remained above the 50-point-mark. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
"The Indian manufacturing economy started the quarter on a slightly stronger footing as growth picked up from March's five-month low, buoyed by stronger demand conditions," said Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report.
Dodhia further noted that "consumer goods was again the bright spot, with output growth being the fastest among all the three market groups. Meanwhile, investment goods was the weakest performing category as both production and new orders declined during April".
Greater production requirements stimulated job-creation and encouraged companies to engage in input buying.
The survey noted that business sentiment was at the strongest level since the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in July 2017.
"Optimism reflected expectations that new business and demand conditions will improve over the coming 12 months, according to panellists," it added.