Manufacturing growth slows for third straight month in March: HSBC

The HSBC India Manufacturing PMI—a measure of factory production—stood at 54.7 in March, down from 56.6 in February. In January, the PMI stood at 57.5

New Delhi: India's manufacturing sector witnessed the third consecutive month of decline in March as output and new order growth weakened amid power cuts leading to capacity constraints, reports PTI quoting an HSBC survey.

The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)—a measure of factory production—stood at 54.7 in March, down from 56.6 in February. In January, the PMI stood at 57.5.

A reading above 50 shows that the sector is growing, while a reading below 50 means the segment is contracting.

“Activity in the manufacturing sector expanded at a slower pace in March led by a moderation in output and order growth, although export orders accelerated,” HSBC chief economist for India & ASEAN Leif Eskesen said.

The report further said Indian manufacturers reported a marked rise in new business received during March. However, the rate of expansion was the weakest in three months.

“Anecdotal evidence suggested that power cuts and raw material shortages had limited manufacturers’ ability to take on new business and customers' propensity to place orders ? despite a general improvement in demand,” HSBC said.

Mr Eskesen said that while inflation of output prices eased, a further rise in input price inflation suggests it could pick up again as cost pressures are passed on to customers.

“These numbers suggest that upside risk to inflation remain and that the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) easing cycle, in terms of timing and magnitude, depends on the extent to which these risks materialise,” Mr Eskesen said.

Wholesale price-based inflation, which remained high during most of 2011, has started showing signs of moderation but rose to 6.95% in February, against 6.55% in the previous month.

RBI left all key policy rates unchanged during its 16th March review of the third quarter policy, citing persistence of inflation risks due to rising global crude oil prices, a weak fiscal position and a vulnerable exchange rate.

Meanwhile, there was a marginal rise of employment in the Indian manufacturing sector in March largely owing to higher output requirements.

Job creation has now been registered in three of the last four months, HSBC said.

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Tata Motors sales up 20% in March

Sales of the company's Nano small car in March 2012 stood at 10,475 units compared to 8,707 units in March 2011, up 20%

Tata Motors reported 20% increase in total vehicle sales during March at 100,414 units.
 
The company had sold 83,363 cars in the same month last year, Tata Motors said in a statement.

The total passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market rose 34% at 36,984 units in March, highest ever in a month, over 27,678 vehicles sold in the year-ago period.
 
Sales of the company's Nano small car stood at 10,475 units compared to 8,707 units in March 2011, up 20%.
 
The 'Indica' range reported sales of 11,420 units, up 65% from the year-ago period, while 'Indigo' family recorded sales of 8,295 units, up 15% over March last year, Tata Motors said.
 
Sales of the 'Sumo', 'Safari' and 'Aria' rose by 40% to 6,794 units in March this year.
 
In the commercial vehicles segment, the company sold 58,063 units in the domestic market last month against 49,753 units in the same period last year, an increase of 17%.
 
Light commercial vehicle sales during March stood to 36,091 units, a growth of 37%.
 
Medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales stood at 21,972 units last month, lower by six% over March 2011.
 
During the year, Tata Motors launched vehicles like Tata Divo Luxury Coach, the Tata Starbus Ultra, the Tata Magic IRIS and the Tata Ace Zip.
 
The company's exports sales declined by 10%. It was 5,367 units in March 2012, from 5,932 vehicles in March last year.

Tata Motors’ shares closed at Rs276.40 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.25% up from the previous close.

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Mahindra & Mahindra March sales up 25%

In the domestic market, the company registered a 25% rise in sales to 44,342 units compared to 35,488 units in the year-ago period, Mahindra & Mahindra said in a statement

Auto-maker Mahindra & Mahindra reported 25% increase in sales at 47,001 units in March -- the highest ever monthly sales number in the history of the company.

The company had sold 37,522 units in the same month in 2011, M&M said in a statement.

In the domestic market, the company registered a 25% rise in sales to 44,342 units compared to 35,488 units in the year-ago period, it said.

Total sales of passenger vehicles, including Scorpio, XUV500, Xylo, Bolero and Verito, stood at 23,020 units last month against 17,320 units in March 2011, a growth of 33%.

The company, however, said sales of its three-wheelers stood at 5,089 units, down from 5,769 units during the same month last year.

Sales of the company's Gio and Maxximo mini-trucks and other four-wheeler commercial vehicles increased to 14,714 units from 11,520 units in the year-ago period, the statement said.

M&M's exports jumped to 2,659 units during the month from 2,034 units in March 2011.

The company has closed FY 2011-12 with a sales figure of 483,246 units against 377,063 units in FY 2010-11, an impressive growth of 28%.

The company's exports have also grown by an impressive 70% during FY 12.

“We are happy to have achieved a growth of 28% in 2011-12 given the pressures the auto industry is facing. All our brands have done well this year and we hope to create excitement in the market during FY 2013 with the addition of new products in our portfolio,” M&M chief executive (automotive division) Pravin Shah said.

Mahindra & Mahindra’s shares closed at Rs708.50 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.66% up from the previous close.

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