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Country Forecast India October 2017 Updater

Country Forecast India October 2017 Updater

  • October 2017
  • ID: 4981120
  • 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.
  • As India's economic clout grows, its 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 pace of progress on enhancing the business environment will be uneven. The NDA will record its biggest policy successes in improving physical infrastructure and transforming India's macroeconomic fundamentals. Progress in contentious areas such as land and labour reforms will be limited.
  • 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 3.2% 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% inflation target range of the Reserve Bank of India (the central bank). Despite this, monetary policy settings will change in line with inflation expectations.
  • The inflation differential with the US and India's expanding current-account deficit will put downward pressure on the rupee. We expect the depreciation to be gradual, with the currency weakening from an estimated average of Rs65.2:US$1 in 2017 to Rs73.4:US$1 by 2022.
  • Robust private consumption and an increase in investment expenditure will suck in imports of both consumer goods and machinery, leading to a widening of the merchandise trade deficit in 2018-22. Overall, the current-account shortfall will average the equivalent of 2.1% of GDP in 2018-22.

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