India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has revised its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for FY17 upwards to 7.8% from its earlier forecast of 7.7% (FY16: 7.6%, FY15: 7.2%). The upward revision has been prompted by the progress of monsoon and the sowing of kharif crops so far. With the exception of East and Northeast, the rainfall in other regions of the country has been more than long period average.
With a favourable monsoon so far, India Ratings expects rural demand to recover in FY17. This coupled with urban demand, which will be aided the Seventh Central Pay Commission payout, will give a fillip to the consumption demand in the economy. Ind-Ra expects consumption demand to grow at 8.4% in FY17. However, industrial growth at 7.2% in FY17 will still be lower than the 7.4% witnessed in FY16.
The key factor that is holding the acceleration of industrial growth is investment recovery. The incumbent government has taken several initiatives. For example, to encourage manufacturing activity there has been a concerted focus on improving the ease of doing business through programmes such as Make in India, Start Up India etc. Similarly, to address the power sector woes, it has introduced the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme and to address the woes of other sectors such as metals, mining, road and oil & gas etc. it has introduced debt restructuring schemes. However, all this has failed to rekindle the animal spirit in the economy so far.
In fact, the debt-fueled investment boom that began during FY10-FY11 has taken a heavy toll on the financial health of both corporates and banking sector. As a result, both are repairing their balance sheets. Another factor that is holding up investments is low capacity utilisation rates in a number of manufacturing sectors due to both tepid domestic demand and global overcapacity in sectors such as steel, tyre etc.
India Ratings expects the Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index based inflation to come in at 3.3% and 5.0%, respectively, in FY17 (FY16: negative 2.5% and 5.0%). With food inflation surprising on the upside and households expecting inflation to rise in the near term, the window for further rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is shrinking. The real risk-free interest rate which had inched up to 4% in July-August 2015 is now down to 1.7%.
Despite a bit rusty fiscal arithmetic, India Ratings expects that the union government will still be able to achieve its fiscal deficit to the GDP target of 3.5% in FY17. Ind-Ra further expects FY17 to be the fourth consecutive year of comfortable current account deficit (CAD) deficit at USD29.0bn (1.3% of GDP). Ind-Ra believes that the export and import trends will not change during the remaining months of this fiscal due to the lack of global demand and soft commodity prices coupled with tepid domestic investment demand. A robust foreign capital inflow is expected to add nearly USD17bn to the forex reserve in FY17. Yet, Ind-Ra expects average INR/USD to be 67.79 in FY17 due to active RBI intervention in the forex market.
FY17 Economic Outlook
|(%)||FY14||FY15||FY16||FY17 (April Forecast)||FY17 (July Forecast)|
|GVA at FY12 prices||6.3||7.1||7.2||7.7||7.8|
|– Private final consumption expenditure||6.8||6.2||7.4||8.1||8.4|
|– Government final consumption expenditure||0.4||12.8||2.2||5.6||6.5|
|– Gross fixed capital formation||3.4||4.9||3.9||7.9||5.0|
|Average wholesale inflation||6.0||2.0||-2.5||2.9||3.3|
|Average retail inflation||9.5||5.9||5.0||4.5||5.0|
|Year-end interest rate||8.8||7.8||7.5||7.0-7.2||7.0-7.1|
|Average exchange rate (INR/USD)||60.50||61.14||65.47||67.79||67.79|
|Fiscal deficit (central government, % of GDP)||4.4||4.0||3.9||3.5||3.5|
|CAD (% of GDP)||1.7||1.3||1.1||1.2||1.3|
|Source: Ind-Ra, Central Budget, Central Statistical Office and RBI|
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