New Delhi: Credit rating agency Fitch on Sunday downgraded Indian economy’s growth projection to 8.3% for 2011-12 on account of high inflationary pressures that has forced the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to hike key rates.
The agency had earlier projected the country’s growth for the current fiscal at 8.5%. It, however, kept its projection for 2012-13 unchanged at 8%.
“India’s economy grew 8.7% in FY’11 (the year to end-March 2011) on the government’s estimate, in line with Fitch’s expectation.
The agency revised its FY’12 growth forecast down marginally to 8.3% from 8.5% as inflation is easing less quickly than anticipated,” Fitch said in its report -- Global Economic Outlook (GEO).
The wholesale prices rose 8.3% in February 2011 compared to the year-ago period, which is up from 8.2% in January 2011, it added.
“Further tightening from the RBI seems likely, leaving an already slowing economy facing an awkward combination of stubbornly high inflation and more headwinds from further policy tightening,” Fitch commented.
Last month, the RBI in its mid-quarterly policy review had raised repo (short-term lending) and reverse repo (borrowing) rates to 6.75 and 5.75% respectively.
This was the eighth time the central bank hiked its key policy rates since March 2010 to fight rising inflation that at present remains much above the RBI’s comfort level of 5-6%.
“The persistence of inflation has led Fitch to revise up its annual average inflation forecast for FY’12 to 7% from 6.5% in the December GEO.
“A 10.6% rise in food prices drove the overall index, but machinery and electrical goods prices accelerated, too (up 3% and 4.1%, respectively),” the report said.
India is not the only country that has been estimated to grow at slower than the projected rate; even neighbour China’s rating has also been downgraded due to higher prices in the country.
“Fitch forecasts China’s economy to grow 8.9% in 2011 and 8.7% in 2012, a modest downward revision from the previous forecast of 9% each year, as policy tightening to control inflation continues,” the report opined.
Due to high crude oil prices, the rating agency has also revised up its forecast for annual average inflation in China in 2011 to 5% from 4.2% previously.