Indian economic growth slows to 7.9 pct: official data

NEW DELHI, August 29, 2008 (AFP) – India’s high-flying economy expanded by a slower-than-expected 7.9 percent in the first quarter as stiff anti-inflation measures hit demand, official data showed Friday.

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The figure for the three months to June was far below the previous quarter’s growth of 8.8 percent and the 9.2 percent expansion logged by Asia’s third-largest economy in the first quarter a year earlier.

India’s economy, which has drawn billions of dollars in foreign investment, has been steadily losing steam as the central bank has aggressively raised interest rates to curb inflation now riding at 13 year highs.

The first-quarter figure released by the Central Statistical Organisation was below market expectations that the economy would grow by 8.1 percent.

The data came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Economic Advisory Council forecast earlier this month that economic growth would likely slow to 7.7 percent this year, dragged down by monetary tightening, a drop in farm output and global financial turmoil.

The economy grew by nine percent last year a