The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut India’s economic growth forecast to nine per cent for the current fiscal year ending March 31, joining a host of agencies that have downgraded their projections on concerns over the impact of a spread of a new variant of coronavirus on business activity and mobility.
In its latest update of World Economic Outlook on Tuesday, the Washington-based international financial institution, which had in October last year projected a 9.5 per cent GDP growth for India, put the forecast for the next fiscal FY23 (April 2022 to March 2023) at 7.1 per cent.
The Indian economy had contracted by 7.3 per cent in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The IMF’s forecast for the current financial year is less than 9.2 per cent that the government’s Central Statistics Office has predicted and 9.5 per cent that the Reserve Bank of India has estimated. Its forecast is lower than the 9.5 per cent projection by S&P and 9.3 per cent by Moody’s but more than the 8.3 per cent projection by the World Bank and 8.4 per cent by Fitch.
According to the IMF, India’s prospects for 2023 are marked up on expected improvements to credit growth and, subsequently, investment and consumption, building on the better-than-anticipated performance of the financial sector.
The IMF said that global growth is expected to moderate from 5.9 in 2021 to 4.4 per cent in 2022, half a percentage point lower for 2022 than in the October WEO, largely reflecting forecast markdowns in the two largest economies — the US and China.
A revised assumption removing the Build Back Better fiscal policy package from the baseline, earlier withdrawal of monetary accommodation, and continued supply shortages produced a downward 1.2 percentage-point revision for the United States, it said.
In China, pandemic-induced disruptions related to the zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy and protracted financial stress among property developers have induced a 0.8 percentage-point downgrade.
The global growth is expected to slow to 3.8 per cent in 2023.
“Although this is 0.2 percentage point higher than in the previous forecast, the upgrade largely reflects a mechanical pickup after current drags on growth dissipate in the second half of 2022. The forecast is conditional on adverse health outcomes declining to low levels in most countries by end-2022, assuming vaccination rates improve worldwide and therapies become more effective,” said the report.
In a blog post, IMF’s chief economist Gita Gopinath wrote that the continuing global recovery faces multiple challenges as the pandemic enters its third year.
The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has led to renewed mobility restrictions in many countries and increased labour shortages, she said.
Supply disruptions still weigh on activity and are contributing to higher inflation, adding to pressures from strong demand and elevated food and energy prices, Gopinath wrote.
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