Business sentiment in India falls to lowest level in 3 years: survey

Business sentiment in India fell to its lowest level since June 2016, as companies were worried over a slowing economy, government policies and water shortage, a survey said.

According to the IHS Markit India Business Outlook, predictions of softer activity growth underpin the downward revisions of profit outlook, subdued hiring plans and relatively muted capital expenditure.

“June sees business sentiment in India fall to the joint lowest level since comparable data became available in 2009,” the survey said. The survey said water shortages, public policies and weak sales have restricted sentiment in June 2019.

The net balance of private sector companies foreseeing output growth in the year ahead fell from 18 per cent in February this year to 15 per cent in June 2019.  Companies are also concerned about potential rupee depreciation pushing prices for imported materials upwards, lack of skilled labour, likely tax hikes, financial difficulties and customers increasingly demanding discounts.

“As seen across emerging markets, business sentiment in India is down in June, dampened by worries about the sustainability of the economic upturn, water shortages, public policies and regulation,” said Pollyanna De Lima, principal economist at IHS Markit.

However, hopes of pro-business government policies and a better financial flow continue to underpin optimism towards output and profitability growth in the year ahead. On the employment front, amid predictions of a pick-up in demand, companies plan to expand capacity by hiring additional workers. “As such, firms plan to expand capacities by taking on additional workers, though sentiment for all measures of expenditure are anemic,” Lima said.

The Global Business Outlook Survey for worldwide manufacturing and services is produced by IHS Markit and is based on a survey of around 12,000 manufacturers and service providers that are asked to give their thoughts on future business conditions. The report is produced on a tri-annual basis, with data collected in February, June and October. The latest survey was conducted between June 12 and June 26, 2019.

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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