ISLAMABAD: Large-scale manufacturing (LSM) grew by 22.39 per cent in March, reflecting phenomenal growth in industrial output, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Friday.

The surge is partly explained by the lockdown that came into effect on March 23 last year.

On a month-on-month basis, big industry production contracted by 7.66pc.

The LSM expansion had slowed in January after posting a double-digit growth in December and November on the back of higher automobile, cement products and one-time sugar output, which reflects the revival of industrialisation. In February, LSM posted a growth of 4.85pc.

However, on month-on-month basis, LSM contracts by 7.7pc

In December and November last year, LSM grew by 11.4pc and 14.5pc, respectively, on a year-on-year basis.

During the first nine months (July-March) of the fiscal year 2020-21, LSM grew by 8.99pc. Since July 2020, LSM has rebounded after suffering months of a downturn on account of Covid-19 mainly in the automobile, construction, textile, food, chemicals, non-metallic mineral products and pharmaceutical sectors. The uptick during the nine months of FY21 reflects a revival in economic activities.

The PBS snapshot of the manufacturing activity showed that 12 out of 15 sub-sectors in LSM rose during the month under review. Low-interest rates and reduction in duties on raw materials are expected to further spur economic activities during the current fiscal year.

Sector-wise, production of 11 items under the Oil Companies Advisory Committee was up by 76.75pc year-on-year in March. The 36 items under the Ministry of Industries and Production rose by 23.56pc, while 65 items reported by the provincial bureaus of statistics were up by 13.43pc.

LSM represents nearly 80pc of the country’s total manufacturing and accounts for nearly 10.7pc of the national output. In comparison, the small-scale industry makes up for just 1.8pc of GDP and 13.7pc of the secondary sector.

As per the PBS data, the whole automobile sector posted a massive growth in March from a year ago. Production of tractors rose by 90.83pc, trucks 58.98pc, buses 87.50pc, jeep and cars 183.51pc, LCVs 104.47pc and motorcycles by 77.36pc during the month under review. The bicycle production also posted a growth of over 16pc.

The cement output also grew by 57.24pc during the month under review on the back of greater demand following the start of construction activities and increase in exports. In the steel sector, billets and ingots also posted a growth of 57.65pc. The production of paints and varnishes was up 76.28pc. Cigarettes production posted a growth of 34.13pc.

In pharmaceuticals, the output of syrups rose by 37.77pc, injection 13.08pc, capsules 30.14pc and tablets by 0.44pc. However, the output of ointments dipped by 17.34pc.

On the other hand, vegetable ghee production fell by 0.77pc. However, cooking oil production was slightly up by 0.26pc. The production of tea dipped by 3.37pc, while wheat and grain milling output grew by 14.96pc.

The data for March showed that output of petroleum products was up by 76.85pc. The output of two oil products — petrol and high-speed diesel — was up 85.15pc and 181.93pc, respectively, whereas furnace oil production increased by 55.41pc, jet fuel oil 33.02pc and LPG by 40.30pc.

The production of kerosene dipped by 4.50pc. The production of other petroleum sub-products increased during the month under review.

In electronic goods, the output of refrigerators posted a growth of 111.76pc, deepfreezers 101.11pc, air-conditioners 171.55pc, electric bulbs 6.50pc, electric fans 83.41pc, electric meters 142.18pc, switch gear 165.59pc and electric transformers 70.21pc. Other electronic goods output also posted positive growth during the month under review.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2021

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