New Delhi: The Indian economy will grow at 7.5 per cent in the current fiscal, which rate will accelerate to 8 per cent in about four years, US rating agency Moody’s said on Wednesday ahead of the release of GDP figures for 2016-17 later in the day.
“We expect marginally faster growth in India. According to our forecast the economy will grow 7.5 per cent in fiscal year 2017 (2017-18) and 7.7 per cent in fiscal year 2018 (2018-19),” Moody’s Investors Service said in its Global Macro Outlook.
“Overall, we continue to believe that economic growth will gradually accelerate to around 8 per cent over the next three to four years,” it said,
The American agency also said that the negative impact of the November 8 demonetisation of high-value currency on the economy was limited in size and duration.
“The ruling BJP’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh state elections indicates that the government has remained politically popular despite the demonetisation exercise,” the report said.
The government has pushed through major reforms like further liberalising foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in a number of key sectors, the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for food, fertiliser and kerosene subsidies, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a National Bankruptcy Code.
“Together, these will help reduce inefficiencies and improve trend growth over the long run,” Moody’s said.
The rating agency, however, cautioned that “persistent banking sector weakness from a high proportion of delinquent loans on bank balance sheets will weigh on growth, if not resolved, by constraining credit for investment-related activity”.
“Private sector investment has remained weak despite progress on reforms, suggesting that some hurdles to investment remain binding in many cases.”
Moody’s said the inflation rate in India has steadily declined to 3 per cent as of April, owing to weaker food price inflation.
“We believe that the inflation rate will rise to around 5 per cent by the end of this year, once the effect of this temporary factor fades,” it said.
With the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy review due next week, Moody’s expects the RBI to maintain status quo on its key interest rate, given the central bank’s recent shift in policy stance to “neutral”.
Earlier this week, the World Bank estimated that India’s GDP in the current fiscal would grow at 7.2 per cent. For 2016-17, the multilateral lender expected the country’s growth to register a fall to below 7 per cent.
In its earlier projection of GDP growth for the last fiscal, the Indian Central Statistics Office (CSO) has said the economy will grow at 7.1 per cent. During the third quarter ended December, India’s GDP grew at 7 per cent.