Large-scale manufacturing grows 26.6pc in March

Published May 14, 2022
LABOURERS work at the spinning section of a textile mill in Rawalpindi.  Economic activity is expected to slightly slow down in the last two months of the current financial year as high-interest rates and depreciation of the rupee will increase the cost of raw materials further.—Reuters/File
LABOURERS work at the spinning section of a textile mill in Rawalpindi. Economic activity is expected to slightly slow down in the last two months of the current financial year as high-interest rates and depreciation of the rupee will increase the cost of raw materials further.—Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Friday that large-scale manufacturing (LSM) grew 26.6 per cent year-on-year in March.

Industrial production output not only rebounded but also posted the highest growth in the last month of the previous government. Industrial output increased by 8.2pc in January, and went up slightly the following month.

The production estimation for LSM industries was made on the new base year of 2015-16. However, the PBS also released a separate estimation on the old base of 2005-06.

As per the old base 2005-06, the LSM grew by 26.9pc in March compared to a year ago. The calculations in both estimations show an upward trend as LSM entered a negative growth of 0.1pc in October 2021.

On a month-on-month basis, the major industry’s production increased by 8.2pc.

In the first nine months (July-March) of the current financial year, LSM grew by 10.4pc on a year-on-year basis as per the new base. However, the growth is calculated at 7pc in the nine months on the basis of the old base-2005-06.

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 seven out of 15 sub-sectors in the LSM dipped in March. High-interest rates and depreciation of the rupee will increase the cost of raw materials further, and economic activity is expected to slightly slow down during the current financial year.

Production of 11 items under the Oil Companies’ Advisory Committee increased by 8.1pc year-on-year in March. The 36 items under the Ministry of Industries and Production surged by 34.4pc, while the 65 items reported by the provincial bureaus of statistics increased by 21pc.

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 Jeeps and tractors, showed strong growth in March compared to the same period a year ago. Production of tractors dipped by 11.9pc, trucks 7.2pc and Jeeps 2.4pc, respectively.

The production of cars surged by 31.3pc, LCVs by 19.6pc and buses by 15pc. The production of motorcycles dipped by 12pc, while bicycles increased by 69.9pc.

In the non-metallic mineral sector, the production of cement output dipped by 2.2pc in March 2022. The production of glass plates and sheets, on the other hand, increased by 141.2pc. In the steel industry, billets and ingots increased by 19.6pc.

The production of phosphate fertilisers rose 16.7pc in March and nitrogen fertilisers 17pc, respectively.

In pharmaceuticals, the output of tablets fell by 25.6pc, injections by 44.4pc and capsules by 57.2pc. However, the output of syrups is up by 94.8pc and ointments by 43.6pc, respectively.

On the other hand, cooking oil production posted a positive growth of 26.5pc in March from a year ago. However, tea blended fell by 11.5pc in March from a year ago, while wheat and grain milling output declined by 10.2pc.

The output of a few petroleum products posted growth in March. The output of petrol surged by 10.6pc and that of high-speed diesel by 9pc, whereas furnace oil production increased by 2.7pc, jet fuel oil by 13.3pc, and LPG was up by 2.6pc, respectively.

The production of kerosene dipped by 8pc, lubricating oil 1.6pc, and jute batching oil 47.9pc, respectively.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2022

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