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World Bank sees higher 7.5% GDP growth in 2024

Its earlier projection was 1.2 percentage points lower at 6.3%; Overall, growth in South Asia expected to be strong at 6% this year

World Bank sees higher 7.5% GDP growth in 2024

In India, which accounts for the bulk of the region’s economy, output growth is expected to reach 7.5% in FY23/24 before returning to 6.6% over the medium term, with activity in services and industry expected to remain robust - World Bank in its report

Washington: The Indian economy is projected to grow at 7.5 per cent in 2024, the World Bank has said, revising its earlier projections for the same period by 1.2 per cent.

Overall, growth in South Asia is expected to be strong at 6.0 per cent in 2024, driven mainly by robust growth in India and recoveries in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the World Bank said in its latest South Asia Development Update on Tuesday.

In India, the World Bank said, economic activity surprised on the upside in 2023Q4, with growth of 8.4 per cent from a year ago. “The expansion was supported by rapid increases in investment and government consumption. More recent survey data point to continued strong performance,” it said.

In February, India’s composite purchasing managers index (PMI) stood at 60.6, well above the global average of 52.1 (a value above 50 indicates expansion). Growth in FY2023/24 is estimated to have exceeded earlier forecasts, it said.

According to the report, in India, inflation has remained within the Reserve Bank of India’s 2-6 per cent target range since a spike in mid-2023, and the policy rate has remained unchanged since February 2023. Food price inflation has been elevated, partly reflecting a weak harvest due to El Niño, it said.

Financial conditions in India have remained accommodative. Domestic credit issuance to the commercial sector (including public and private borrowers) grew by 14 per cent (year-on-year) in December 2023, the fastest pace since 2013. Financial soundness indicators continued to improve. The nonperforming-loan ratio fell to 3.2 per cent last year, well below its recent peak, in March 2018, of about 11 per cent. Regulatory capital totalled 17 per cent of bank assets in the second quarter of 2023, surpassing both regulatory requirements and peer averages.

FDI as a share of GDP fell in 2023, but a rebound in foreign portfolio investment inflows in FY2023/24 contributed to foreign reserves, rising 8 per cent in the year to January 2024, reaching a level sufficient to cover about 11 months of imports, the World Bank report said.

“In India, output growth is projected to reach 7.5 percent in FY2023/24 on the back of robust growth in Q3 of FY2023/24. Growth is expected to moderate to 6.6 percent in FY2024/25 before picking up in subsequent years as a decade of robust public investment yields growth dividends,” the bank said.

The expected slowdown in growth between FY2023/24 and FY2024/25 mainly reflects a deceleration in investment from its elevated pace in the previous year, it said. “Growth in services and industry is expected to remain robust, the latter aided by strong construction and real estate activity. Inflationary pressures are expected to subside, creating more policy space for easing financial conditions,” it said.

“Over the medium term, the fiscal deficit and government debt are projected to decline, supported by robust output growth and consolidation efforts by the central government,” the report said.

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