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India’s growth to accelerate to 7.5% this fiscal: Moody’s

PTI | New Delhi |

India's economic growth will accelerate to 7.5 per cent in current fiscal and the government's reform push will help achieve 8 per cent GDP growth rate in about four years, Moody's said on Wednesday.

In its Global Macro Outlook, Moody's Investors Service said the ruling BJP's victory in Uttar Pradesh state elections indicates that the government has remained politically popular despite the demonetisation exercise.

"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)," it said.

Indian economy grew 7.1 per cent in 2016-17 fiscal.

Moody's, 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.

Overall, we continue to believe that economic growth will gradually accelerate to around 8 per cent over the next three to four years, Moody's said, adding that the negative impact of demonetisation on the economy was limited in size and duration.

The World Bank has earlier this week projected India to clock a 7.2 per cent growth rate in the current fiscal on reform momentum and improved investment scenario.

The government has been successful in pushing through several key reforms, including liberalisation of FDI rules in a number of key sectors such as defence, railway infrastructure, civil aviation and insurance.

Besides, Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for food, fertiliser and kerosene subsidies, July rollout of the goods and service tax, and a national bankruptcy code are among other reforms undertaken by the government.

"Together, these will help reduce inefficiencies and improve trend growth over the long run," Moody's said.

The inflation rate has steadily declined to 3 per cent as of April, due 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.

Moody's expect the Reserve Bank of India to hold the policy 'repo' rate steady, holding a neutral stance in this growth environment.

"Private sector investment has remained weak despite progress on reforms, suggesting that some hurdles to investment remain binding in many cases," Moody's noted.

As regards China, Moody's said its GDP growth will decelerate over the year due to reduced property-related investment as liquidity-tightening measures of the central bank and regulatory measures intended to limit the growth rate of shadow banking take effect.

"We expect that real GDP will grow at 6.6 per cent in 2017, in line with the target of 'at least 6.5 per cent and higher if possible,' falling to 6.3 per cent in 2018," it said.