Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments Third Quarter Review 2008-09
-Announced on January 26, 2009
The Reserve Bank has released the document “Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments Third Quarter Review 2008-09” to serve as a backdrop to the Third Quarter Review of Monetary Policy 2008-09.
The highlights of macroeconomic and monetary developments during 2008-09 so far are:
The Indian economy, after exhibiting strong growth during the second quarter of 2008-09, has experienced moderation in the wake of the global economic slowdown. Although agricultural outlook remains satisfactory, industrial growth has decelerated sharply and services sector is slowing. The economic slowdown, during the second quarter vis-à-vis the first quarter of 2008-09, was primarily driven by a moderation of consumption growth and widening of trade deficit, offset partially by an acceleration in investment demand.
The balance of payments (BoP) for the first half of 2008-09 reflected a widening of the current account deficit and moderation in capital flows. Net capital inflows reduced sharply and remained volatile during 2008-09 with foreign direct investment inflows showing an increase, while portfolio investments recording a substantial outflow.
The growth of non-food credit remained high during 2008-09, so far, albeit with some moderation in recent months. Continued high growth in time deposits enabled the banking system to sustain the credit expansion while the non-banking sources of funds to the commercial sector declined.
The total flow of resources from banks and other sources to the commercial sector during 2008-09, so far, has been somewhat lower than the comparable period of 2007-08.
Financial markets in India, which, by and large, remained orderly from April 2008 to mid-September 2008, witnessed heightened volatility subsequently reflecting the knock-on effects of the disruptions in the international financial markets and the uncertainty that followed. This necessitated the Reserve Bank to undertake a series of measures to inject rupee and foreign exchange liquidity from mid-September 2008 onwards. Liquidity conditions turned around and became comfortable from mid-November 2008.
Headline inflation has declined in major economies since July/August 2008. In India, inflation measured as year-on-year variation in the wholesale price index (WPI) has declined sharply since August 2008 and was at 5.6 per cent as of January 10, 2009.
On the macroeconomic front, the downside risks for economic growth emanate from global economic slowdown, deterioration in global financial markets and slowing down in domestic demand. On the positive side, factors include expected increase in consumption demand mainly reflecting rise in basic exemption limits and tax slabs, Sixth Pay Commission awards, debt waiver for farmers and pre-election expenditure. The easing of international oil prices and commodity prices may help in softening the inflationary pressure.
According to estimates released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in November 2008, the real GDP growth was placed at 7.6 per cent during the second quarter of 2008-09 as compared with 9.3 per cent during the corresponding quarter of 2007-08, reflecting deceleration in growth of industry and services.
The Ministry of Agriculture has set a target for foodgrains production for 2008-09 at 233.0 million tonnes. According to the First Advance Estimates, the kharif foodgrains production during 2008-09 was placed at 115.3 million tonnes (Fourth Advance Estimates) as compared with that of 121.0 million tonnes during the previous year.
The index of industrial production during April-November 2008-09 recorded year-on-year expansion of 3.9 per cent as compared with 9.2 per cent during April-November 2007-08. The manufacturing sector recorded growth of 4.0 per cent during April-November 2008-09 (9.8 per cent during April-November 2007-08) and the electricity sector recorded growth of 2.9 per cent (7.0 per cent during April-November 2007-08).
Available information on the leading indicators of services sector activity during April-October 2008-09 indicate some acceleration in growth in respect of several indicators such as railway revenue earning and freight traffic and export cargo handled by civil aviation as compared with the corresponding period of 2007-08. On the other hand, growth decelerated in respect of cargo handled at major ports and other indicators of civil aviation excluding export cargo, commercial vehicles, cement and steel.
Aggregate demand in the Indian economy is primarily domestically driven, though exports have been gaining progressively higher importance in recent years. The economic slowdown, during the second quarter vis-à-vis the first quarter of 2008-09, was primarily driven by a moderation of consumption growth and widening of trade deficit, offset partially by an acceleration in investment demand. On the other hand, the government consumption expenditure accelerated during the same period.
According to the latest information on Central Government finances for 2008-09 (April-November), the revenue deficit and fiscal deficit were placed higher than those in April-November 2007 both in absolute terms and as per cent of budget estimates (BE) primarily on account of higher revenue expenditure.
Tax revenue as per cent of BE was lower than a year ago on account of lower growth in income tax, corporation tax and customs duties owing to economic slowdown. Aggregate expenditure as per cent of BE, was higher than a year ago on account of higher revenue expenditure, particularly, subsidies, defence, other economic services, social services and plan grants to States/Union Territories.
While expenditure is slated to increase on account of the fiscal stimulus measures undertaken by the Government to address the problem of economic slowdown, growth of tax revenue is likely to decelerate in the coming months of 2008-09 due to moderation in economic activity. The net cash outgo on account of the two supplementary demand for grants is placed at Rs. 1,48,093 crore. This, in turn, will be reflected in the non-attainability of the deficit targets for 2008-09 as envisaged in the Union Budget 2008-09.
During 2008-09 (up to January 13, 2009), special bonds amounting to Rs.44,000 crore and Rs.14,000 crore have been issued to oil marketing companies and fertiliser companies, respectively.
Sales performance of select non-Government non-financial public limited companies in the private corporate sector during the first two quarters of 2008-09 was impressive; however, profits performance was subdued as compared with 2007-08. Higher increase in expenditure in relation to sales growth was primarily on account of rising input costs, interest expenses and large provisioning towards mark to market (MTM) losses on foreign exchange related transactions which exerted pressure on profits.
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