This Week in Data #2
Welcome to this 2nd edition of This Week in Data (TWID) newsletter. The first edition was sent last Saturday, in case you missed it. In this newsletter, we summarise the key data releases during the week that has just ended. And we look forward to what the next week holds. This newsletter will thus be largely factual and not analytical. If we have analysed some of the data releases in detail, we will link to them.
This was another data-heavy week with a host of data releases. We got the first look at how the economic activity fared in June with a host of high-frequency data for June being reported.
Worth noting is that the reported data is currently being impacted by the low base of last year – economic activity was depressed (relative to the pre-covid period) during the April-June quarter of last year due to the second wave of the pandemic. With this caveat, let’s get started…
Automobile (retail) sales were generally strong in June, aided by the favourable base as mentioned above. 2W sales grew 20% YoY while Passenger vehicle sales grew 40% YoY. Tractor sales also grew 10% YoY. Commercial vehicle sales were strong too. Sales of Heavy commercial vehicles sales grew 100% YoY while those of Medium Commercial Vehicles grew 86% YoY.
Merchandise Export growth moderated to 17% YoY in June-22. This is the slowest growth since Feb-21. Import growth remained strong at 50% YoY in June. The trade deficit thus widened to over US$25bn and is at a record high. Imports have grown faster than Exports for 5 consecutive months now.
Growth in Electricity generation moderated to 15.5% YoY in June from 23.5% YoY in May. Renewable power generation grew 8.5% YoY while conventional power generation grew almost 17% YoY.
The total freight carried by the Indian railways rose 11% YoY in June. This is slightly slower than the 14.6% growth in May but is higher than the 9.4% growth in April.
Demand for work under NREGA remained high for the second consecutive month in June. ~43m people have demanded work in the last two months, the same level as last year - despite the economic recovery
Cargo traffic at the major ports increased 13.5% YoY in June. This is higher than the 8.9% YoY growth in May. Coal (mostly imports) was the biggest driver of traffic growing 50% YoY in June.
First-year life insurance premiums collected rose a modest 4% YoY in June. Premiums collected by the Private sector Insurers rose 29% YoY while those collected by the LIC declined 5% YoY in June.
Corporate bond issuance grew 60% YoY in June. The growth in June comes after three consecutive months of decline. Thus, for the June quarter issuance grew a modest 5% YoY.
GST EWay Bills grew 40% YoY in June-22. This is slower than the 90% growth in May. The base effect continues to distort YoY data. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, growth in June was higher than during the last few months.
FX Reserves declined by US$5bn during the week ending July 1st. This is the third week in the last four that FX Reserves have declined in this large a quantum. India’s FX reserves stood at US$588bn, the lowest since April 2021.
Kharif sowing was weak in the last week. On a cumulative basis as of 8th July, the total Kharif acreage is down 9% YoY. Rice and Oil seeds continue to be the laggards - acreage is down 20% YoY in both the cases
April was a weak month for Road construction in the country. A total of 417km of highways were upgraded during the month as against 717km of upgradation during April last year. Both NHAI and State PWD/BRO had weaker throughput in April. That said, the Roads sector has been one of the few sectors without much adverse impact from the pandemic.
Equity Mutual Funds had another strong month in June. Net Inflows were just over ₹150bn (~US$2bn). This is the fifth consecutive month of inflows in equity funds above ₹150bn. Debt funds saw outflows for the second consecutive month. In June outflows totalled almost ₹1,000bn, more than 2x the outflows in May.
Next week will generally be light on data. But we will get the most important data in current times – CPI Inflation (for June). Recall that the CPI Inflation was above 7% in May, although it had fallen sharply from 7.8% in April. We will also get CPI’s cousin, the WPI (also for June) and the Industrial Production data for May.
Finally, in case you missed it, we released our monthly report on Government Finances last week. Government finances have started FY23 on a sober note. Combined receipts have grown a relatively modest 16% YoY. Expenditure has grown slightly faster at 17% YoY and consequently, the fiscal deficit has expanded by over 20% YoY.
Have a good weekend everyone…