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Country Forecast India December 2017 Updater

Country Forecast India December 2017 Updater

  • December 2017
  • ID: 358977
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • The National Democratic Alliance (NDA, a centre-right pan-Indian coalition of parties led by the Bharatiya Janata Party) will retain its dominance over the political landscape in 2018-22. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that the NDA will secure a second five-year term at parliamentary elections in 2019.
  • India's foreign policy stance will become increasingly assertive, particularly in South Asia. Its relations with the US and Japan will improve owing to an alignment of strategic interests. By contrast, ties with Pakistan will remain tense and weigh on India's relations with China.
  • The NDA government's performance on economic reforms will be mixed even in its second term. It will see success in improving physical infrastructure and transforming India's macroeconomic fundamentals. Progress in contentious areas, such as land and labour reforms, will be limited owing to legislative gridlock and opposition from labour and farmers' groups.
  • Improved tax administration and a 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. We expect the budget shortfall to average the equivalent of 3% of GDP in fiscal years 2017/18-2022/23 (April-March).
  • Real GDP growth will average 7.8% a year in 2017/18-2022/23, largely driven by private consumption and infrastructure investment. Private-sector investment will accelerate from 2018 as the authorities deal more firmly with distressed assets in the banking system, and as the business environment improves.
  • We expect consumer price inflation to average 4.4% a year in 2018-22. This will be within the 2-6% target range of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI, the central bank). We expect the RBI to hold interest rates in 2018 but raise them in 2019 as inflation accelerates. Weaker global economic growth in 2020 will enable the RBI to cut rates in that year. It will, however, tighten monetary policy again in 2021 as the global outlook improves and domestic investment surges.
  • The current account will remain in the red throughout the forecast period, mainly on account of a widening trade deficit. The current-account shortfall will widen in 2018 owing to an increase in oil prices, which will push up the value of imports. High demand for capital goods, on the back of rapid infrastructure development, mean that import growth will persistently outpace exports.

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