Saturday, December 3, 2011

India’s Economic Growth Rate

India's economic growth has slumped to 7.3 percent in the first half of the current fiscal, substantially below the budgetary estimate. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth declined to 7.7 percent in the first quarter and it slumped further to 6.9 percent in July-September period. The economic growth was likely to be better in the second half of the current financial year. It is hoped that the country will be recovering some of the loss in our growth momentum and may end the year over 7.5 percent." The finance minister said the government was not in a position to boost growth through stimulus as it did during the global financial crisis in 2008-09.
Inflation Rate
Inflation has remained stubbornly high, near double digit, for the last two years despite an aggressive monetary tightening by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and claims of a series of fiscal measures by the government. Headline inflation based on the wholesale price index was recorded at 9.73 percent in October. However, food inflation has moderated in the recent week. It was recorded at 8 percent for the week ended Nov 19, according to the latest official figures.
Food inflation dropped to a four-month low of 8 per cent as on November 19, reflecting fall in prices of essential items like onions, potatoes and wheat giving relief to common man, while rates for rice and vegetables increased at a moderate pace.
Decline in food inflation may also give respite to the government which is facing heat from the Opposition on various issues, including the price rise. This is lowest since July 16 when it was 7.16 per cent.
The RBI raised the repo rate by 25 basis points to 8.50 per cent and the reverse repo moved up by a similar percentage to 7.50 per cent in its last policy review in October. Repo is the short-term rate at which the RBI lends to banks, while reverse repo is the rate at which it gets funds from banks.
The central bank has hiked policy rates five times this fiscal. In the last one-and-a-half months alone, it has raised the key rate (repo) by 50 basis points.
Foreign Trade
India's exports grew by just 10.8 per cent to $19.8 billion in October, the lowest in the past two years, mainly due to the declining demand in the US and Europe. The growth rate has been the lowest since October, 2009, when it contracted by 6.6 per cent.
According to the Commerce Ministry data, imports grew at a faster rate of 21.7 per cent to $39.5 billion leaving a trade deficit of $19.6 billion, the highest ever in any month in the last four years, which is also due to expensive crude oils and vegetable oils.
From a peak of 82 per cent in July, export growth has slipped to 44.25 per cent in August, 36.36 per cent in September and 10.8 per cent in October.
In October, oil imports grew by 20.73 per cent to $10 billion, whereas the non-oil imports rose by 22 per cent to $29.4 billion over the year-ago period.
But, for the cumulative April-October period, exports aggregated to $179.7 billion showing a handsome growth of 45.9 per cent, thanks to sterling trend witnessed in the previous months of the current fiscal.

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