Eight core sectors expanded at a fastest pace in more than a year at 6.8 per cent in November 2017 on account of robust performance in segments like refinery, steel and cement, official data showed today. The output growth for the month under review is highest since October 2016, when these core sectors had witnessed 7.1 per cent rise. These eight industries — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — had witnessed a growth of 3.2 per cent in November 2016. The output of refinery products, steel and cement rose by 8.2 per cent, 16.6 per cent and 17.3 per cent, respectively on an annual basis in November 2017, according to the data released by the commerce and industry ministry. Crude oil and natural gas output too registered a positive growth during the month under review. On the other hand, coal output growth rate recorded a negative growth during the month.Cumulatively, the growth in the eight core sectors during April-November this fiscal slowed to 3.9 per cent as against 5.3 per cent in the same period last fiscal. A healthy growth in key sectors will have positive implications on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) as these eight segments account for about 41 per cent of the total factory output.Commenting on the data, Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg described 6.8 per cent rise in core sector output as an impressively growth. “Steel and cement growth at 16.6 per cent and 17.3 per cent indicates restoration of the production in these sectors over pre-demonetisation levels. It augurs well for real sector investment,” he said in a tweet.