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I did not know the meaning of the part after the comma in the sentence:

Since May spending on projects ranging from railways to power plants has fallen compared with a year earlier, the longest weak patch on record.

Could anyone explain the meanings of "the longest weak patch on record" and the whole? Thanks!

3 Answers 3

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Typing 'economic weak patch' into the usual search engine mainly gave hits for 'soft patch'. However it did return this item from CBS which uses 'weak' to describe low activity in a graphic contrasting a 'soft patch' with 'reduced momentum'.

It seems that the writer of the paragraph you quote has used 'weak patch' instead of the more common 'soft patch' to describe a period of reduced economic activity or, in this case, government capital spending. "The longest weak patch on record" therefore means "The most extended single period of reduced government capital spending shown in the records of the Indian government". This is, however a "weak patch" defined as a reduction in investment as compared month by month with expenditure in the previous year. There may well have been months where the expenditure rose as compared with the previous month (July's expenditure this year may have been higher than June's this year but was still lower than July's last year so the "weak patch" or "soft patch" continued through July)

Whether this assertion is true and the "weak patch" is verifiably the longest since independence and partition in 1947 is anyone's guess, Journalists don't often supply supporting data to that level.

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patch as a period of time OED

With modifying adjective: a distinct period of time with a characteristic quality. Frequently in to strike (also hit, etc.) a bad (also rough, sticky) patch.

As in:

... the longest period of reduced spending (weak patch) on record.

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The patch is an area expressing how long/wide is an extent of land or surface. But here it should be taken to mean a continuous period, interval or duration of an event that lasted marking a timed event of some particular significance.

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