The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by IHS Markit, rose to 58.9 in October from September’s 56.8 as demand and output continued to recover strongly from coronavirus-related disruptions.
Both output and new orders, which tracks overall demand, grew at their sharpest rates in more than 12 years and foreign demand expanded at its quickest pace since December 2014.
October GST mop up above Rs 1 lakh crore
For the first time since February, goods and services tax (GST) collections topped Rs 1 lakh crore in October, indicating that economic activity is headed to pre-Covid-19 levels.
The mop up last month was 10.2 per cent higher at Rs 1,05,155 crore, making it the fastest rise since the 15.6 per cent growth recorded in March 2019, latest data released by the finance ministry showed.
Collections in October are for September sales.
Last year, festival sales were bunched up in October due to Dussehra and Diwali. This time, Dussehra sales took place in October, and the numbers will be clearer next month. Diwali sales are expected to be captured in the December numbers.
Auto companies report bumper sales
A cracker of a Diwali came home early for the auto industry that reported bumper sales in October, holding out hope that the Covid-induced slowdown may be on the wane.
Hyundai and Hero MotoCorp, India’s two top automakers, reported lifetime-high monthly volumes in wholesale deliveries to dealerships.
The passenger vehicles industry has been under severe pressure over the last two years and after an 18 per cent fall in 2019-20, demand was weak even this year.
But demand has come back, largely led by the generally positive sentiments around Navaratri and Diwali. A section of analysts and industry players, however, said that weak sales during lockdown has resulted in pent-up demand, which is now playing out in the market.
Diesel sales top pre-Covid level
India’s diesel consumption in October shot past the pre-pandemic level for the first time since the lockdown, while petrol and power demand continued to grow at a healthy trot, indicating that economic recovery is gathering steam on the back of festive demand.
Gasoil consumption in October rose to 6.6 per cent from a year earlier, the first such increase since Covid-19 restrictions were imposed in late March, signalling a pick up in industrial activity.
Sales of gasoil, which accounts for about two-fifths of India’s fuel demand, rose 27.5 per cent in September.
However, India’s unemployment rate in October rose to 6.98 per cent from 6.67 per cent in September, according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
The novel coronavirus has infected nearly 8.2 million people in the world’s second-most populous nation, hitting large parts of the economy.
Economic activity has resumed after the government eased pandemic lockdown restrictions.
(With agency inputs)