ISLAMABAD: The large-scale manufacturing (LSM) grew 8.2 per cent year-on-year in January, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Friday.

The estimation for the production of large industries was made on the rebased index for the manufacturing sector to 2016-17. However, the PBS also released a separate estimation on the old base 2005-06.

As per the old base 2005-06, the LSM grew by 6.3pc in January from a year ago. The calculations in both estimations show an upward trend as LSM entered a negative growth of 0.1pc in October 2021. It revived to a partial growth of 0.7pc in November 2021 and 3.9pc in December 2021 as per the old base.

The lowest positive growth in LSM was noted in September 2021 at 1.19pc, which fell from 12.74pc in August. The second-lowest LSM expansion was observed in July at 2.25pc. The current financial year started with a paltry growth in LSM.

Automobile sector, barring bikes, turns in a robust performance

On a month-on-month basis, the big industry production increased by 4.2pc.

In the first seven months (July-January) of the current financial year, LSM grew by 7.6pc on a year-on-year basis as per the new base. However, the growth is calculated at 3.9pc in the seven months on the basis of old base-2005-06.

Since July 2020, the LSM has rebounded after months of a downturn on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, mainly in the automobile, construction, textile, food, chemicals, non-metallic mineral products and pharmaceutical sectors.

The PBS snapshot of manufacturing activity showed that three out of 15 sub-sectors in the LSM dipped in January. High-interest rates and depreciation of the rupee will increase the cost of raw materials further and economic activities are expected to slightly slow down during the current financial year.

Production of 11 items under the Oil Companies Advisory Committee dipped by 1pc year-on-year in January. The 36 items under the Ministry of Industries and Production surged by 8.5pc, while 65 items reported by the provincial bureaus of statistics increased by 9.3pc.

The LSM at 9.73pc of GDP dominates the overall manufacturing sector, accounting for 76.1pc of the sectoral share. It is followed by small-scale manufacturing which accounts for 2.12pc of GDP and 16.6pc sectoral share.

As per the PBS data, the entire automobile sector, excluding motorcycles showed strong growth in January compared to the same period from a year ago. Production of tractors surged by 56.2pc, trucks by 246.4pc, jeep and cars by 30.8pc, LCVs by 32.3pc and buses 62.7pc, respectively.

The production of motorcycles dipped by 3.6pc. In the non-metallic mineral sector, the production of cement output dipped by 18.1pc in January 2022. However, the production of glass plates and sheets up by 163.1pc. In the steel sector, billets and ingots posted a growth of 25.9pc.

In the fertiliser sector, the production of phosphate fertilisers rose 117.7pc in January and nitrogen fertilisers 21.3pc, respectively.

In pharmaceuticals, the output of tablets fell by 29.8pc, injection by 50pc and capsules by 60pc. However, the output of syrups is up by 91.4pc and ointment 15.1pc, respectively.

On the other hand, cooking oil production posted a positive growth of 19.4pc, tea blended increased by 15.2pc in January from a year ago, while wheat and grain milling output increased by 4.3pc and sugar 12.2pc.

The output of petroleum products dipped by 0.7pc in January. The output of petrol fell by 2.8pc and that of high-speed diesel was increased by 2.5pc, whereas furnace oil production dipped by 8.3pc. The production of LPG is up by 2.7pc.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2022

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