Friday 23 March 2018

World Bank slashes India growth forecast

Vendors wait for customers at a stall at a wholesale food market in Mumbai
Vendors wait for customers at a stall at a wholesale food market in Mumbai

The World Bank sharply lowered its forecast for India's economic growth to 4.7pc from 6.1pc for the current fiscal year, citing a sharp slowdown in manufacturing and investment as well as negative business confidence.

In a report released today, the bank said "high headline inflation, an elevated current account deficit, and rising pressure on fiscal balances from the depreciation of the rupee" were factors that could impede the country's growth.

"Economic activity is expected to pick up in the second half of FY2014, although the speed of economic recovery could be impacted by the country's present vulnerabilities," the World Bank said in its India Development Update report.

In a report published six months ago the bank had expected an acceleration in India's growth, driven by a pick-up in domestic activity, but that did not materialise.

The latest report forecasts economic growth will pick up further to 6.2pc in the 2014/15 fiscal year that begins next April.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed the growth forecast for Asia's third-largest economy to 3.8pc in calendar 2013 year and forecast 5.1pc growth for 2014.

The World Bank's expectation of a pick-up later in the year tallies with the views of India's central bank chief, who expects the start-up of billions of dollars worth of stalled resource projects and a good monsoon season to bolster agricultural output and speed domestic growth.

The Indian economy has slowed sharply from growth of around 8pc per year between 2002 and 2012 to about 5pc in 2012/13.

In the last fiscal year India posted a whopping $88bn on the current account, the third largest in the world, raising fears of a balance of payments crisis. The rupee crashed as much as 20pc between May and August.


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