Decline in June factory output is on expected lines: India Inc

New Delhi: India Inc today said decline in industrial growth to 7.1% in June was on expected lines and attributed the fall to part withdrawal of the economic stimulus, coupled with a relatively stronger rate of growth in the same month last year.

"The fall in industrial production was on expected lines as it largely reflects a higher base in the same period last year," Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director general Chandrajit Banerjee said.

Industrial growth slipped to a 13-month low in June because a drop in manufacturing output.

Mr Banerjee said despite the low production, the country would be able to post a high GDP growth of 9 to 9.5% this fiscal.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said that although the decline was expected, it is a matter of concern that the June growth this year is less than that of June 2009, during which the world had to battle global economic meltdown.

The industrial growth was 8.3% in June 2009.

"The slowdown in Indian manufacturing sector is...also due to the gradual phasing-out of monetary and fiscal stimulus," said Ficci secretary general Amit Mitra.

The government had increased the excise duty by two per cent in the Budget, 2010-11. As part of the stimulus measures, the excise duty was slashed to help the industry wade through the global economic slowdown.

Another leading industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), however, said the June growth slipped due to the rising cost of inputs coupled with continuing inflationary pressures.

"Major factors, which led manufacturing to suffer is the inflation and rise in prises of petroleum products and overall increase in the prices of commodities, including metal and primary articles," Assocham president Swati Piramal said.

She said the government should prescribe measures for friendly monitory and fiscal policies to help industry restore manufacturing growth.


WTO expects substantive negotiation to resume from September

Kolkata: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) expects the Doha Round of negotiations to resume from September and the talks to be more substantive this time leading to agreements in at least 15%-20% of the pending issues, reports PTI.

'Serious discussions are likely to begin from September as the overall environment for talks has become conducive,' WTO deputy director general Harsha V Singh said on the sidelines of an Indian Chamber of Commerce interactive session.

"The talks have continued for quite some time. Now the ambassadors are discussing things in close sessions. Almost 80 per cent of the issues are resolved," he said while addressing a seminar organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

He identified special safeguard mechanisms for agriculture, non-tariff measures in anti-dumping and a few areas in environmental goods and services, and fisheries as the areas expected to figure in the talks.

More market access to developed countries, as desired by India, is another issue likely to come up for negotiations.


Cairn Energy Plc in talks to sell stake in Indian arm

New Delhi: Scottish oil explorer Cairn Energy Plc today said it is in talks to sell stake in its Indian unit, Cairn India, which owns the massive Rajasthan oilfields, reports PTI.

Though Cairn Energy did not identify the suitor, speculation is rife that it could be India-focused miner Vedanta Resources Plc.

"The board of Cairn Energy Plc confirms that discussions are taking place with a third party in respect of the disposal of an interest in Cairn India Ltd," the London-listed firm said in a brief press statement.

A Vedanta spokesperson declined to comment.

Cairn Energy holds 62.36% stake in Cairn India.

"There can be no certainty the contemplated disposal will occur or as to the terms of any such disposal," the statement said. "A further announcement will be made when appropriate."

If it is successful, Vedanta will be the only second large miner in the world after BHP Billiton to have interest in oil.

Vedanta has iron ore, zinc and copper mines.

Sir Bill Gammell-run Cairn Energy may retain a controlling interest in Cairn India even it sells up to 12% interest for Rs7,741 crore at today's closing price.

The talks are advanced and billionaire Anil Agrawal-controlled Vedanta may be discussing a range of options, including an equity stake, asset purchase or a complete takeover of Cairn India.


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