India continues to show resilience against the backdrop of a challenging global environment, according to World Bank’s latest India Development Update (IDU).
The IDU, the bank’s flagship half-yearly report on the Indian economy, observes that despite significant global challenges, India was one of the fastest-growing major economies in financial year 2022-2023 (FY22/23) at 7.2 per cent.
India’s growth rate was the second highest among G20 countries and almost twice the average for emerging market economies. This resilience was underpinned by robust domestic demand, strong public infrastructure investment and a strengthening financial sector.
Bank credit growth increased to 15.8 per cent in the first quarter of FY23/24 compared with 13.3 per cent in the first quarter of FY22/23.
The IDU expects that global headwinds will continue to persist and intensify due to high global interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and sluggish global demand.
As a result, global economic growth is also set to slow down over the medium term against a background of these combined factors.
In this context, the World Bank forecasts India’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth for FY23/24 to be at 6.3 per cent. The expected moderation is mainly due to challenging external conditions and waning pent-up demand.
However, service sector activity is expected to remain strong with growth of 7.4 per cent and investment growth is also projected to remain robust at 8.9 per cent.
"An adverse global environment will continue to pose challenges in the short-term," said Auguste Tano Kouame, World Bank's country director in India.
“Tapping public spending that crowds in more private investments will create more favourable conditions for India to seize global opportunities in the future and thus achieve higher growth.”
Adverse weather conditions contributed to a spike in inflation in recent months. Headline inflation rose to 7.8 per cent in July due to a surge in prices of food items like wheat and rice.
Inflation is expected to decrease gradually as food prices normalise and government measures increase the supply of key commodities.
"While the spike in headline inflation may temporarily constrain consumption, we project a moderation. Overall conditions will remain conducive for private investment,” said Dhruv Sharma, senior economist, World Bank, and lead author of the report.
“The volume of foreign direct investment is also likely to grow in India as rebalancing of the global value chain continues.”
The World Bank expects fiscal consolidation to continue in FY23/24 with the central government fiscal deficit projected to continue to decline from 6.4 per cent to 5.9 per cent of GDP.
Public debt is expected to stabilise at 83 per cent of GDP. On the external front, the current account deficit is expected to narrow to 1.4 per cent of GDP, and it will be adequately financed by foreign investment flows and supported by large foreign reserves.
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