India’s economy is expected to dwarf its peers with GDP growth of 6.2% amid pre-election spending

Indian economy: India’s economic growth is expected to outpace that of other major economies, with GDP growth forecast at 6.2 percent for the fiscal year ending March 2024, according to a recent Reuters poll. This growth is due to government spending ahead of general elections scheduled for May next year. However, economists participating in the survey expressed concerns about possible downside risks.

Of the 48 economists surveyed, 28, or nearly 60 percent, predicted that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would cut interest rates by at least 25 basis points before July, with the median forecast suggesting a rate of 6.25 percent in the second quarter of the following year.

Growth forecasts vary

The survey’s median forecasts for India’s GDP growth point to a continuation of strong performance, with growth forecast at 6.3 percent for fiscal 2025, in line with the previous month’s forecasts. However, the forecasts for the current financial year were very different and ranged between 4.6 and 7.1 percent.

Despite an expansion of 7.8 percent in the last quarter, economic growth is expected to weaken to 6.4 percent in the July-September quarter and further decline to 6.0 percent in the October-December period, finally reaching 5 percent in early 2024 .5 percent slowed. The majority of economists surveyed, 22 out of 36, assume that the risks to GDP growth for the 2023/2024 financial year are more to the downside.

While the government has increased infrastructure spending in recent years, contributing to India’s resilience in the face of global economic challenges, it has struggled to create sufficient employment opportunities. In addition, concerns have been raised about a possible dry monsoon season, which could impact agriculture, which employs about half of the country’s population.

Inflation exceeds target

The survey also showed that retail inflation in India is expected to average 5.5 percent this fiscal and 4.8 percent the following year, above the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target of 4 percent. A clear majority of economists (23 out of 34) believe that the risks of higher inflation are significant.

Despite inflation concerns, most economists expect the RBI’s next step to be a rate cut. Nearly 60 percent of economists surveyed (28 of 48) expect a rate cut of at least 25 basis points before July, with an average forecast of 6.25 percent in the second quarter of next year.

At the upcoming October 4-6 meeting, all but one of the 71 economists surveyed expect the RBI to keep its key interest rate at 6.50 percent, with only one economist expecting a 25 basis point hike. Median forecasts suggest this rate will remain unchanged for the remainder of the fiscal year.


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