India slashed its full-year economic growth forecast on Friday, weighed down by weak global demand and a drought that has created risks for farm output, but reiterated its commitment to narrow the fiscal deficit to an eight-year low.
Asia’s third-largest economy is now expected to grow 7-7.5% in the fiscal year ending in March 2016, the finance ministry said in its mid-year economic review, down from an estimate of 8.1-8.5% announced in February.
The downgrade came after the economy grew 7.2% in the first half of the 2015/16 fiscal year.
Still, if it meets the government’s estimate, the South Asian nation will remain the world’s fastest growing major economy as China’s GDP is struggling to maintain the near-7% pace promised by its leaders.
Slowing demand for Indian merchandise in overseas markets has hit growth as exports, that account for about a fifth of India’s $2 trillion economy, have tumbled for the past 12 months.
“Declining exports seem to be predominantly determined by a decline in the world demand,” the report said. “Regardless of the causes, the effect has been a drag on growth.”
Growth in 2016/17 is unlikely to be significantly higher, the report said.
The finance ministry said it will stick to its budgeted fiscal deficit target of 3.9% of GDP for the current fiscal year.
But the fiscal outlook for 2016/17 looks challenging and the government will need to reassess its commitment to cut the deficit further by 0.4 percent of its GDP in the financial year that begins in April, the report cautioned.
Read full article: Business Insider