Poor performance of coal, petroleum refinery products and natural gas pulled down the core sector growth to 2.1 per cent in December, 2013 from 7.5 per cent in the same month a year ago.
It is, however, better than in the previous two months. The eight core industries had contracted by 0.6 per cent in October and grew by a modest 1.7 per cent in November.
The core sector growth is 2.5 per cent during the April- December period of this fiscal compared to 6.8 per cent in the same period of 2012-13.
The infrastructure industries--fertilisers, cement, steel, electricity, crude, coal, petroleum refinery products and natural gas -- have a weight of about 38 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
Coal output contracted by 0.6 per cent in December. Petroleum refinery production registered a negative growth of 1.7 per cent.
Natural gas output was in the negative zone of -9.9 per cent in December.
Steel output growth slowed to 3.1 per cent, while cement production decelerated by 1.1 per cent. Crude oil registered a growth of 1.6 per cent and electricity generation expanded by 6.7 per cent.
According to industry experts, the slow growth in the core sector would impact IIP numbers for December, which are likely to be announced in the second week of February.
Dashing hopes of recovery, the industrial production had contracted by 2.1 per cent in November, the lowest in six months, mainly due to poor performance of the manufacturing sector and lower output of consumer goods, particularly the white goods.