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India's economy grew 8.9% last quarter

India's annual growth surpassed its initial forecast to reach 8.9% in the last quarter, due to a manufacturing and construction boom

AFP, Tuesday 30 Nov 2010
India achieving new growth rates.
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 India's economy grew a forecast-beating 8.9% year-on-year in the July-September quarter, data showed Tuesday, underscoring the country's recovery from the global financial crisis.

The fiscal second-quarter boom beat expectations of growth of around 8.2% and was propelled by a 9.8% jump in manufacturing from a year earlier and an 8.8% leap in construction.

Asia's third-largest economy also got a boost from stronger farm production, which expanded 4.4%, thanks to a bountiful monsoon, data from the Central Statistical Organisation showed.

The strong overall growth comes as the country of 1.2 billion people has been aggressively unwinding massive stimulus measures put in place to shield the country from the global slump.

Global investors have been pouring billions of dollars into India, seeking to tap its strong growth, with industrialised economies still struggling to emerge from the downturn.

The South Asian country is the world's second fastest growing major economy, behind regional rival China.

Surging vehicle sales and growing bank lending have helped to power the strong performance.

India's finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said earlier this month that the government was aiming for double-digit growth in the next couple of years as it seeks to reduce deeply entrenched poverty.

More than 40 percent of Indians still live below the extreme poverty line of $1.25 a day, compared with 16% in neighbouring China, according to the World Bank.

While the government expects growth of around 8.5% in the financial year to March 31, 2011, economists say it may exceed that target if the present trend continues.

The growth rate for the first quarter was revised upwards to 8.9% from 8.8%.

Financial secretary Ashok Chawla said the upturn of the $1.3 trillion economy was broad-based with all sectors recovering.

India posted average annual growth of 9.5% between 2006 and 2008 before the International financial slump.

Economists say the strong performance could prompt the Central Bank, which has hiked interest rates six times since the start of the year, to press ahead with monetary tightening -- the most aggressive in the Asia Pacific region -- to curb inflation, which is running at 8.58%.

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