Monday, 6 February, 2023

India GDP growth forecast to slow to 7pc on global headwinds

MUMBAI: India's economic growth will slow to 7.0 percent this financial year, according to official estimates released Friday, as weaker global demand and high inflation weigh on the world's fifth-largest economy.

The National Statistics Office forecast for the year ending March 31 still ranks India's economic outlook above every other major country but is down from the 8.7 percent growth recorded in 2021-22, reports AFP.

India bounced back strongly from the coronavirus pandemic but is now grappling with the same headwinds buffeting the global economy.

Rising petrol costs following Russia's invasion of Ukraine have had a ripple effect on prices for the country's 1.4 billion people.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has hiked rates by 2.25 percentage points between May and December in an aggressive response to rising consumer inflation, which hit a high of 7.79 percent in April before moderating.

Higher commodity costs and a falling rupee have left India struggling with a deteriorating trade balance and its current account deficit hit a record high of $36.4 billion in the September 2022 quarter.

The Indian rupee hit record lows last year, plunging more than 11 percent against the US dollar as the greenback rallied on risk-averse market sentiment.

But India's currency has proven more resilient than its Asian peers, aided by regular central bank intervention.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts 6.1 percent growth for India this year, down from 6.8 percent in 2022.

But the figure is still significantly higher than every other major world economy, with IMF deputy managing director Antoinette Sayeh attributing India's resilience to structural reforms and its hawkish approach to fighting inflation.

"India is a relative bright spot in the world economy today, growing at rates significantly above its peer average," she told an event in New Delhi on Friday.

India's benchmark Sensex closed 0.75 percent lower in Mumbai ahead of the GDP growth data release.