First Quarter Review of the Monetary Policy for 2010-11
-Announced on the 27th July 2010
I. The State of the Economy
5. In its July Update of the World Economic Outlook (WEO), the IMF raised its global growth projection for 2010 to 4.6 per cent from its April projection of 4.2 per cent on the strength of Q1 growth rates. However, the IMF’s expectation of slightly faster global growth is largely driven by somewhat greater optimism about EMEs. Several assessments of advanced economies show increasing pessimism about the sustainability of the current pace of recovery. There is widespread expectation of a slowdown of the global economy in the second half of 2010.
6. In the US, recovery remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth and tight credit. In the euro area, economic activity is weak, though more resilient than expected in the face of the recent turbulence. The growth outlook remains clouded by concerns about the sustainability of sovereign debt in some of the euro area economies.
7. In contrast, EMEs are witnessing strong growth, driven by strong domestic demand, restocking of inventories and, thus far, recovering global trade. In many EMEs, especially in Asia, growth is fast approaching the trend. Robust macroeconomic fundamentals, unimpaired balance sheets of corporates and households, sound banking sector and effective fiscal and monetary stimuli contributed to a significantly faster recovery in EMEs.
8. Inflation in advanced economies is subdued due to large output gaps and high unemployment rates. Inflation expectations also remain well anchored. In contrast, inflation in EMEs has been rising due to fast emerging capacity constraints, prompting many to reverse their expansionary monetary policies.
9. The Indian economy grew by 7.4 per cent in 2009-10. The momentum was particularly pronounced in Q4 of 2009-10 with growth at 8.6 per cent as compared with 6.5 per cent in the previous quarter. At constant market prices, the pick-up in Q4 growth was even sharper at 11.2 per cent, reflecting a significant turnaround in indirect tax collections.
10. The double digit growth in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) that began in October 2009 continued during the current financial year although there was modest deceleration in May 2010. In the first two months of this fiscal,
April-May 2010, the IIP recorded a year-on-year growth of 14 per cent with as many as fifteen out of the seventeen industry groups (two digits NIC classification) showing positive growth. The lead indicators of service sector also suggest increased economic activity.
11. The cumulative rainfall has been 14 per cent below its long-period average (LPA) during the current monsoon season so far (as on July 21, 2010). Even so, monsoon performance has been much better than it was last year, which augurs well for agricultural production. Data on crop-wise area, indicate a significant increase over the relatively low levels of last year.
12. However, the current inflation scenario is worrisome for a number of reasons. First, WPI inflation has been in double digits since February 2010. Headline inflation, as measured by year-on-year variation in WPI, rose to 10.6 per cent in June 2010, up from 10.2 per cent in May 2010. Notably, WPI inflation based on revised data for March at 11.0 per cent and for April at 11.2 per cent, were higher by over one percentage point as compared with the provisional numbers. If this pattern continues, final WPI inflation numbers for recent months can be expected to be higher.
13. Second, even as primary food articles inflation continues to be in double digits (14.6 per cent), year-on-year WPI non-food manufactured products (weight: 52.2 per cent) inflation, which was (-) 0.4 per cent in November 2009, rose sharply thereafter to 5.4 per cent in March 2010 and further to 7.3 per cent in June 2010. Non-food items inflation (WPI excluding food products and food articles), which was near zero in November 2009, rose sharply to 10.6 per cent by June 2010. Significantly, non-food items contributed over 70 per cent to WPI inflation in June 2010, suggesting that inflation is now very much generalised. Third, notwithstanding some moderation in recent months, consumer price inflation, measured by various indices, remains in double digits.
14. Money supply (M3) growth on a year-on-year basis moderated from 16.8 per cent at end-March 2010 to 15.3 per cent as on July 2, 2010 reflecting a slowdown in the growth in bank deposits. Time deposits decelerated mainly because of withdrawal of deposits by public sector undertakings and mutual funds. In order to finance higher credit growth in the face of declining deposit growth, banks unwound their investments in mutual funds and accessed the repo window of the Reserve Bank.
15. Year-on-year non-food credit growth accelerated from 17.1 per cent in March 2010 to 22.3 per cent as on July 2, 2010, which was higher than the indicative trajectory of 20 per cent set out in the April 2010 Monetary Policy Statement. This reflects the combined impact of a pick-up in industrial activity and financing of the 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum auctions. The increase in bank credit to the commercial sector has also been supplemented by higher flow of funds from other sources. Rough estimates show that the total flow of financial resources from banks, non-banks and external sources to the commercial sector during Q1 of 2010-11 was at Rs.2,50,000 crore as against Rs.61,000 crore during Q1 of 2009-10. Disaggregated data suggest that credit growth to all major sectors such as agriculture, industry, services and personal loans had begun to improve from November 2009 onwards.
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