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Country Forecast India July 2018 Updater

Country Forecast India July 2018 Updater

  • July 2018
  • ID: 3086586
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit

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  • The National Democratic Alliance (a centre-right, pan-Indian coalition of parties led by the Bharatiya Janata Party) will retain power in the next election, scheduled for early 2019, albeit with a diminished majority.
  • Ties with the US will remain warm in 2018-22, albeit punctuated by lingering trade tensions. Meanwhile, despite efforts to normalise relations, ties with China will remain strained owing to border disputes and concerns over that country's rising influence in South Asia.
  • Improved tax administration and greater formalisation of the economy will help to boost government tax revenue. However, rising spending on social services, infrastructure and rural assistance will limit the government's ability to reduce the fiscal deficit much further. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the budget shortfall to average the equivalent of 3.2% of GDP in fiscal years 2018/19-2022/23 (April-March).
  • Real GDP growth will average 7.6% a year in 2018/19-2022/23, driven largely by private consumption and infrastructure investment. Private-sector investment growth will accelerate from 2018 as policy measures to improve the business environment, such as tax reforms, start to have an impact.
  • We expect consumer price inflation to average 4.8% a year in 2018-22. The Reserve Bank of India (the central bank) will embark on a monetary policy tightening cycle in 2018-19, in order to keep inflationary pressures in check. In 2020 it will cut policy rates in response to weaker global GDP growth, before embarking on a tightening cycle from 2021 as the world economy recovers.
  • The rupee will depreciate in 2018-19 and again in 2021-22, largely as a result of India's persistent inflation differential with the US and its continuing current-account deficit. However, the local currency will appreciate slightly in 2020, owing to weaker economic growth and a fall in interest rates in the US.
  • A rise in oil prices over the forecast period will push up the value of imports, as India is a net energy importer. In addition, robust private consump-tion and rising investment activity will push up imports of consumer goods and machinery respectively. The current account will thus remain in overall deficit in the forecast period, with the shortfall averaging the equivalent of 2.5% of GDP.


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