India’s central bank retains 2018-19 GDP growth forecast at 7.4 per cent

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The IMF forecast the global economy to expand further in the next two years, with India's GDP expected to rise by as much as 7.8 percent in 2019.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has retained growth projections for the current fiscal at 7.4 per cent on hopes of further boost to investments and higher consumption.

The Indian economy had grown at 6.7 per cent last fiscal.

In its second bi-monthly monetary policy review for 2018-19, the RBI however said that the sharp rise in petroleum product prices is likely to impact disposable income.

It said domestic economic activity has exhibited sustained revival in recent quarters and the output gap has almost closed.

“Investment activity, in particular, is recovering well and could receive a further boost from swift resolution of distressed sectors of the economy under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code,” the monetary policy statement issued by the RBI said.

On the basis of an overall assessment, GDP growth for 2018-19 is retained at 7.4 per cent as in the April policy, the RBI said.

The RBI projected GDP growth to be between 7.5-7.6 per cent in the April-September period and 7.3-7.4 per cent during October-March, with risks evenly balanced.

It said that with improving capacity utilisation and credit offtake, investment activity is expected to remain robust even as there has been some tightening of financing conditions in recent months.

Global demand has also been buoyant, which should encourage exports and provide a further thrust to investment. Besides, consumption, both rural and urban, remains healthy and is expected to strengthen further, the RBI said.

It, however, said that geo-political risks, global financial market volatility and the threat of trade protectionism pose headwinds to the domestic recovery.

“It is important that public finances do not crowd out private sector investment activity at this crucial juncture. Adherence to budgetary targets by the Centre and the States – which appears to be the case thus far – will also ease upside risks to the inflation outlook considerably,” the RBI said.

Since the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in early April, the price of Indian basket of crude surged from $66 a barrel to $74.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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