New Delhi: The eight core industries expanded by 6.8 per cent in February, against 6.4 per cent in the same period last year, on healthy growth in coal, electricity and cement production.

The infrastructure industries had grown by just 0.5 per cent in the previous month.

According to the provisional data released on Thursday, electricity, coal and cement output grew by 8 per cent, 17.8 per cent and 10.8 per cent in February respectively.

In the same month last year, electricity and cement production had grown by 7.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively, coal output contracted by (-) 5.8 per cent.

Crude oil production grew by 0.4 per cent in the month under review against 12.2 per cent in the comparable period of last year. Petroleum refinery products output too grew by 6.2 per cent against a growth of 3.2 per cent in the same month last year.

However, natural gas output contracted by (-) 7.6 per cent. Fertiliser and steel production grew by 4.1 per cent and 4.3 per cent in February as against 4.8 per cent and 18.5 per cent respectively in the same period last year.

During April-February 2011-12, the growth of core industries slowed down to 4.4 per cent from 5.8 per cent in the same quarter last year.