RBI cuts FY23 GDP growth forecast to 7% as developed world heads into recession
- The RBI on Friday cut its economic growth estimate for fiscal year 2023 to 7% from 7.2% forecast earlier.
- India’s central bank has lowered its growth estimates due to constant geopolitical tensions, monetary policy tightening across nations and elevated inflation.
- Several rating agencies have also recently trimmed their annual growth rate projections after GDP growth rate fell short of expectations in the past quarters.
AdvertisementThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday cut its economic growth estimate for fiscal year 2023 to 7% from 7.2% forecast earlier. While it expects GDP growth to drop to 4.6% in the third and fourth quarter, respectively, from the estimated 6.3% in the second quarter, the broad expectation is that economic activity will recover by the first quarter of the next fiscal year.
India’s central bank has lowered its growth estimates on risks emanating from geopolitical tensions, monetary policy tightening across nations and elevated inflation. Global growth is expected to slow down from 6.1% in 2021 to 3.2% in 2022 as the outlook is “gloomy and more uncertain,” RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said in his speech on Friday.
“Against this challenging global environment, economic activity in India remains stable. While real GDP growth in Q1:2022-23 turned out to be lower than our expectations, the late recovery in kharif sowing, the comfortable reservoir levels, improvement in capacity utilisation, buoyant bank credit expansion and government’s continued thrust on capital expenditure are expected to support aggregate demand and output in H2:2022-23,” Das said.
Markets reacted positively to the 50-basis-point rate hike on Friday, as the outlook for India is relatively better than most developed economies, which are expected to slip into recession in the aftermath of the massive rate hike cycle undertaken earlier this year. India’s been battling several of these risks, but with capital outflows abating and prices of several commodities cooling, the risk to the external sector has abated. India’s import cover stands at nine months, from 20 months a year ago.
There’s been much talk about India’s decoupling from the rest of the world, with many believing that India is an oasis in the midst of a global sand storm. While there’s no doubt that India has been hit by the fallout of the war and rate hikes undertaken by central banks across developed markets, economic activity remains stable. The positive commentary by the RBI Governor helped cheer markets despite the rate hike.
Inflation in India has been lower than the double-digit spikes seen in many other developed countries. The fight against inflation may call for more rate hikes by the RBI, but robust demand could save the day for economic growth. With rainfall coming in higher than the long-period average across most parts of India, higher rural consumption could provide a kicker to economic growth this festive season. According to Nomura’s India economist and vice president, Aurodeep Nandi, “The relatively unchanged growth and inflation outlook by the RBI indicates that the policy arithmetic hasn’t materially changed for it.”
While the Indian economy continues to battle the aftershocks of the pandemic, war in Ukraine and aggressive rate tightening cycle in most developed markets, the havoc is still not as bad as it has been for many other economies. Real economic growth in the April-June quarter of the current fiscal year was at 13.5% on a year-on-year basis, surpassing the pre-pandemic level by 3.8%. This growth has been driven by private consumption largely and investment demand. High frequency indicators also suggest that the second half of the fiscal should continue to be buoyant.
Not just the RBI, but several rating agencies have also recently trimmed their annual growth rate projections after the GDP growth rate fell short of expectations in the past quarters. “Rising interest rates, uneven distribution of monsoons and slowing global growth will dampen economic momentum,” said Moody’s while cutting growth forecasts on September 1. It cut calendar year 2023 growth rate projections to 5.2%.
|GDP forecast cut FY23
|5.2% (Calendar year 2023)
|International Monetary Fund (IMF)
|Asian Development Bank
With prices of most commodities coming off the highs seen during the first half of the fiscal year, markets are betting on a better second half. The RBI Governor echoed this sentiment on Friday in his speech.
The August consumer price inflation remains elevated and above the upper tolerance band of the RBI, however, a good kharif crop and declining prices of most commodities could bring some respite to inflation. Das in his speech said: “The recent correction in global commodity prices including crude oil, if sustained, may ease cost pressures in the coming months. The inflation trajectory remains clouded with uncertainties arising from continuing geopolitical tensions and nervous global financial market sentiments.”
AdvertisementClearly, the battle against inflation is not over and more rate hikes are in the offing.
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