Annual Policy Statement for the Year 2010-11- 20th April 2010
Part A. Monetary Policy
I. The State of the Economy
5. The global economy continues to recover amidst ongoing policy support and improving financial market conditions. The recovery process is led by EMEs, especially those in Asia, as growth remains weak in advanced economies. The global economy continues to face several challenges such as high levels of unemployment, which are close to 10 per cent in the US and the Euro area. Despite signs of renewed activity in manufacturing and initial improvement in retail sales, the prospects of economic recovery in Europe are clouded by the acute fiscal strains in some countries.
6. Core measures of inflation in major advanced economies are still moderating as the output gap persists and unemployment remains high. Inflation expectations also remain well-anchored. In contrast, core measures of inflation in EMEs, especially in Asia, have been rising. This has prompted central banks in some EMEs to begin phasing out their accommodative monetary policies.
7. The Reserve Bank had projected the real GDP growth for 2009-10 at 7.5 per cent. The advance estimates released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in early February 2010 placed the real GDP growth during 2009-10 at 7.2 per cent. The final real GDP growth for 2009-10 may settle between 7.2 and 7.5 per cent.
8. The uptrend in industrial activity continues. The index of industrial production (IIP) recorded a growth of 17.6 per cent in December 2009, 16.7 per cent in January 2010 and 15.1 per cent in February 2010. The recovery has also become more broad-based with 14 out of 17 industry groups recording accelerated growth during April 2009-February 2010. The sharp pick-up in the growth of the capital goods sector, in double digits since September 2009, points to the revival of investment activity. After a continuous decline for eleven months, imports expanded by 2.6 per cent in November 2009, 32.4 per cent in December 2009, 35.5 per cent in January 2010 and 66.4 per cent in February 2010. The acceleration in non-oil imports since November 2009 further evidences recovery in domestic demand. After contracting for twelve straight months, exports have turned around since October 2009 reflecting revival of external demand. Various lead indicators of service sector activity also suggest increased economic activity. On the whole, the economic recovery, which began around the second quarter of 2009-10, has since shown sustained improvement.
9. A sharp recovery of growth during 2009-10 despite the worst south-west monsoon since 1972 attests to the resilience of the Indian economy. On the demand side, the contribution of various components to growth in 2009-10 was as follows: private consumption (36 per cent), government consumption (14 per cent), fixed investments (26 per cent) and net exports (20 per cent). The monetary and fiscal stimulus measures initiated in the wake of the global financial crisis played an important role, first in mitigating the adverse impact from contagion and then in ensuring that the economy recovered quickly.
10. However, the developments on the inflation front are worrisome. The headline inflation, as measured by year-on-year variation in Wholesale Price Index (WPI), accelerated from 0.5 per cent in September 2009 to 9.9 per cent in March 2010, exceeding the Reserve Bank’s baseline projection of 8.5 per cent for March 2010 set out in the Third Quarter Review. Year-on-year WPI non-food manufactured products (weight: 52.2 per cent) inflation, which was (-) 0.4 per cent in November 2009, turned marginally positive to 0.7 per cent in December 2009 and rose sharply thereafter to 3.3 per cent in January 2010 and further to 4.7 per cent in March 2010. Year-on-year fuel price inflation also surged from (-) 0.7 per cent in November 2009 to 5.9 per cent in December 2009, to 8.1 per cent in January 2010 and further to 12.7 per cent in March 2010. Despite some seasonal moderation, food price inflation remains elevated.
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