RBI’s Annual Monetary Policy: RBI Revised Repo Rate And CRR. Policy Expected To Be Aggresive Amid High Inflation.

Grim economic outlook along with poor monsoon was the biggest concern last year, but for this year, inflation is the biggest challenge for the Reserve Bank of India.

  

Click here for the latest VMW Research on India’s Annual Monetary Policy

 

Reserve Bank of India on Apr 20, 2010 has revised its policy rates and CRR by 25 bps. In response to the intimidating supply side factors, India’s inflation dynamic economic growth – as the domestic balance of risk shifts from economic slowdown to inflation, RBI decided to absorb liquidity from the market to control prices. The recovery process in the global economy persists amidst the policy support around the world. In India, RBI has forecasted the GDP growth for 2009-10 at 7.5 per cent while the CSO has forecasted the GDP growth at 7.2 per cent and may settle down in between 7.2 and 7.5 per cent.

Challenges remain in the economy, just perturbing factor has shifted from the economic slowdown to the inflation. Today, inflation is the biggest challenge for the RBI. The headline inflation – measured on WPI on year over year basis, expedited from 0.5 per cent in Sep 2009 to 9.9 per cent in Mar 2010, exceeded the RBI’s baseline projection of 8.5 per cent. Since the economic environment evolving very rapidly, the demand for non-food items also hasten which is propping-up the inflation, thus it is clear WPI is no longer driven by the supply side factors alone.

Raising substantial amount of money for the central government and at the same time, curbing additional liquidity to control prices will be a biggest challenge for the Reserve Bank of India to manage borrowings of the government during 2010-11.

 

 

During 2009-10, the Central government borrowed Rs398,411 Crores ($87.3 Billion approx.) through the market borrowing programme such as Market Stabilization Scheme (MSS) and open Market operations (OMO). This large market borrowing by the government pushing up the yields on government securities during the last financial year, however the lower demand for the credit by the private sectors and better liquidity management by the central bank has cushioned the yields. Moreover, the Union Budget for 2010-11 has begun the process of fiscal consolidation. Government budgeting to pull down the fiscal deficit to 5.5 per cent of the total GDP as compare to 6.7 per cent in 2009-10.

What would be the Possible Causes for Further Elevation in headline Inflation?

  • Rise in Food as well as non-food articles as the prospect of monsoon is not yet clear.
  • Rise in commodity prices poses greater risk to the inflation such as wild volatility in crude oil prices.
  • Strong industrial output according to the IIP data shows the revived confidence in corporates and regaining their pricing power and building up of demand side pressure.

 

Initiating the fiscal consolidation process is a major positive development to enhance the monetary situation in the country as it aimed at reducing the government deficits. This will help avoid the unforeseen demand for private sector credit and would facilitate better monetary management. Nevertheless, the overall size of the government borrowing would exert pressure on the interest rates going forward.

After a series of monetary expansion during the financial crisis, Reserve Bank of India decided to curb liquidity by way of revising policy rates and CRR. In order to achieve the consolidating economic growth, RBI’s policy stance would be a meaningful step towards the resilient economic growth of the country despite the dubiety of rainfall, inflation is now become more generalized and no longer driven by supply side pressure and better liquidity management to make sure that government borrowing programme would not get hampered. In its latest monetary measures, RBI had the following  plan of action for managing liquidity:

Policy Rates as of Jun 2010
       
Repo Rate 5.25% 0.25
Reverse Repo Rate 3.75% 0.25
Bank Rate 6%   0
       
Reserve Ratios      
       
Cash Reserve Ratio 6% 0.25
Statutory Liquidity Ratio 25%   0

 

Please read the latest VMW Research on the RBI’s Monetary Policy at VMW Blog!

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RBI’s Third Quarter Monetary Policy. CRR Raised By 75 Bps.

India’s Central Bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its Monetary Policy on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 and decided to raise CRR by 75 bps to 5.75%.

As expected, Central bank, Reserve Bank of India has raised Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by 75 bps to 5.75% and keeps its policy rates unchanged as per the expectations of VMW, however the hike in CRR is well above, what we had anticipated. While the global economy is stabilizing, the growth outlook has been revised. Economies have rebounded steadly after the significant government intervention. Over the past two years, RBI has reduced the policy rates and CRR in response to the economic crisis to infuse the sufficient amount of liquidity into the market to emerge from the dried liquidity situation and to provide the ample credit facility to the economy to impede the greater risk of economic trouble for the second fastest growing economy in the world. The general trend of CRR (shown below), shows, how the central bank has responded to the economic trouble. During the reign of YV Reddy, CRR jumped to 9 per cent in Aug 2008 just before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers to absorb the additional liquidity in order to prevent the Indian companies (banks & companies) to invest outside into the risky assets.

 

After few days, Duvvuri Subbarao has taken over the charge of RBI and he decided to reduce interest rates by more than 400 bps, when the financial crisis was at peak. Overall, the RBI has predominantly managed the situation mightily and helped the Indian companies to grow even in a gloomy economic period to a certain extent. Now this time, RBI raised the CRR as the Inflation rate is again at the alarming levels. India’s spiralling money supply over the past few months has grew by more than 22 per cent which is again the another matter of concern, which the RBI is taking it seriously to contain the the rise in prices. Rise in CRR would not likely affect the cost of borrowing as the banks are sitting on ample liquidity and shifting to the demand deposits to reduce their cost. Bank’s CASA , Time Deposit ratio has been shifted very aggresively post economic recession to reduce their cost. However, over the next few quarters, RBI may hike the Repo rate and Reverse Repo rate if the inflationary pressure continues.

(SA) Indian Economy 2009-10 Overview. Development in Economy Subsequent To The Recent Crisis.

High interest rates, inflation rate, trade deficit, fiscal deficit and depreciation of Rupee is expected in the next few months.

 

Recovery in Economy.VMW have researched on the global economy with the projection of contraction in the economy is expected in the first half of the year and will likely to see expansion in some of the economies. Germany and France, the largest and second largest economies of the European Union respectively and Japan, the largest economy of Asia has emerged from the recession after 5 quarters, and the United States is somewhat shy to come out of the recession and is expected to expand by the end of this year. The main drivers which might helped the economy, is the active response by the Government Authorities, in a way of announcing trillions of dollars in stimulus packages. Central banks around the world have poured in billions of dollars into the system to make credit market works and slashed interest rates to almost nil to impede the economy to go into deeper recession. With most of the indicators are now offering the sign of strength, however the wobbling unemployment and unsustainable government support to the economy would hamper the growth process. Amid the bleak environment in the global economy, GDP growth in developing economies are shrugging the outlook of their economic growth. With most of the economies were in melancholy, economies like India and China registered a growth rate of 6.7% and 9% respectively.

The immediate effect of the rebound in the global economy could be seen in the financial markets which have posted the spectacular gains in a short time. Since 2008 fallout, markets in India have been stabilized followed by the unprecedented victory in the recent elections, announcement of stimulus packages, and active response to the crisis by the central bank (RBI) which boosted market sentiment and anticipating greater reforms in the economy. In fact situation at the world level are also improving significantly. US economy in particular has offered strong signs of improvement in its economy and expunging the recession which begun in the last quarter of the year 2007.

India Economy Overview

In the above Chart, which is showing the India’s IIP, Inflation, Exports and Imports from Apr 2008 to Jun 2009. All trend lines are showing the sign of stability from falling which was started in 2008. Over the last six years, Indian Economy grew at an average rate of 8%, becomes one of the world’s largest economy. In 2007-08, Indian Economy posted a growth rate of 9%, though the economic growth has slumped due to recession in the west for the year 2008-09. Service sector will continue to outnumber the manufacturing sector and account for more than 53% of the total GDP, but still less than the advanced economies. According to the GDP data, IT export is on the rise and outpacing the overall growth of the sector.

Nasty Monsoon: This year’s deficient monsoon probably downgrade the overall economic growth as the Agriculture sector accounts for more than 18% of the total GDP. Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, and Haryana are the key farming locations of India. Almost scanty monsoon in Uttar Pradesh in particular will make a larger impact on India’s farm sector as the poor harvesting of Rice and Cane hit hard due to poor monsoon. Monsoon below average will make several kind of impact on India and other parts of the world. As India is the second largest producer of Rice and Sugarcane followed by the US and Brazil respectively, the commodity prices will go up, and according to the NYMEX data, the sugar prices soared by 62% since last year due to bad weather in India and the world had been affected by the food price crisis last year due to several reasons including poor harvesting due to drought situation and various other non-farm reasons.

Primarily, capital inflows into India has supported the sharp “V” shape recovery in the BSE’s benchmark index, Sensex. Indian equity markets perked up by more than 90% from its March 2009 lows (See given below figure). Foreign investments, positive growth outlook, consumer confidence, good corporate earnings, better reforms prospect might be a specific reason of overall growth in the financial markets. But, will the rally be sustainable over the next few months as the economy would not be grown as fast as we had expected earlier?

The global financial markets are trading at a reasonable value after sharp fall from the 2007 highs. From the beginning of this year, lot of money has poured into the markets around the world as the investors are optimistic about the economy. Developed economies would take more than two years to recover however the Asian economies will lead the overall economic recovery. Companies around the world has posted better than expected earnings in the last couple of quarters and showing the signs of recovery in their operations, nevertheless the growth in their earnings was ushered by cost cutting measures such as layoff and restructuring of their businesses. In general, their growth would be sustainable once the consumer confidence revives in the developed economies.

BSE Sensex

Unruly Supply-Side: Over the next few months, we will see the higher inflation due to supply side exertion. Supply side concern may include shortage of food grains, higher stock of money in the system due to spiralling government borrowings will doubtlessly push inflation on the higher side. We will expect the monetary action from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in response to the microeconomic developments. Over the next few months, perhaps the Interest rates would go up in response to inoculate the economy from the risk of higher inflation and currency depreciation.

Economy in 2009-10: It would be bewilder that when we should expect the veritable recovery in the Indian Economy? Of course the Indian economy is not an exception and will go inline with the global economies. It will take a lot of time to recover however the situation has improved significantly and so far we have seen an extremely rapid movement in the economy. Moreover, the G-20 Summit, Pittsburgh in Sep 2009 will play a crucial role in the overall economic recovery as the global leaders were committed to monitor the situation and decision which were taken in G-20 Summit, London. However, we cannot expect the fresh stimulus packages from the Government Authorities to revive the economy.

Important Notice: VMW Research Team has marked this research as “Superannuated” and the content of this research is no longer in use in today’s economic context. However, certain references and inferences in this research can be use.  Continue reading

India Budget 2009 Review. Market Expectations Despaired.

 

 

GDP Growth

IIP Data

Budget for an Inclusive Growth

Much awaited Budget mainly for reforms, hike in FDI limit financial industry, deliverance of an inclusive growth in the ecocomy were finally delivered by the Finance Minister of India, Pranab Mukherjee. Some of us were very happy with the proposals made in the House while other got disappointment on various front. For sure, India’s economic growth has been impacted by the global economic problems and the recovery in the western economy specially in the US would play a critical role in a growth of the Indian economy. The rising fiscal deficit, expenditures are not only a single major concern for the economy but the significant rise in government borrowings also does matter for the future growth, which would affect the borrowing cost (refer to the given below figure).

India's Fiscal Deficit for FY 2008-09 of Annual GDP at Current Market Price.

India's Fiscal Deficit for FY 2008-09 of Annual GDP at Current Market Price.

 

There is no doubt that the debt level of the Indian Government likely to puff up due to higher spending. First look at the brief synopsis of Budget 2009.

  • Mr Finance Minister has agreed upon the real challenges to get back to sustainable 9% GDP growth.
  • Finance Minister stressed upon infrastructure development by providing long term financial assitance to infrastruture projects via India Infrastruture Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).
  • Increases allocations for National Highway and Railways projects.
  • Extension of repayment period from Jun 2009 to Dec 2009 under the Debt relief Program 2008 to the farmers having acquired land more than two hectares.
  • Gov’t of India commitment on restoring growth in export sector.
  • To Initiate Institutional Reform measures from this year to fix the rising Fiscal Deficit.
  • To allocate Rs 39,400 crores ($8.16 Billion) to National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
  • Total expenditure of Rs. 1,020,838 Crores ($209.62 Billion) according to the Budget Estimates 2009-10.
  • Abolishment of Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) and removal of Surcharge on Income Tax.
  • Changes in Direct Tax Code.
  • Implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) from 1st Apr 2010.
  • Revision in Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) from 10% to 15%.

Since the inflation is no longer a concern for the economic growth, India needs to opt for a better policies and reforms to achieve the macroeconomic stability. Interest rates become more stable backed by the comfortable liquidity situation in the system which would be prudent for the constant growth of the economy and to be self reliant driven by the domestic demand. Forasmuch, India seeing the higher non plan spendings due to Subsidy burden, Sixth Central Pay Commission, and food subsidy which would be a troublesome for the government to restructure its finances. Savings rate at 59% of the anual GDP and massive foreign reserves assets will put the Indian ecconomy on reposeful position in the global arena (helps the Indian economy to abstain from the risk of revision in credit rating).

Finance Minister Mukherjee has commended the budget without giving further stress on the spending and even didn’t touch the revenue side largely in the wake of the macroeconomic health. Foreign Inflows will continue to drive the Indian economy higher in future but the lower exports will make the Balance of Payments (BOP) uneasy for the economy. The vast current account deficit will make the Indian currency more vulnerable in the near term against the US Dollar however it would be a short term pain and not a major concern to think upon. We’re expecting some bit of reduction in fiscal deficit in FY2009-10 due to diminution in subsidy burden including Oil bonds, food subsidy and we could see the beginning of economic reforms in the fiscal year 2009-10 Budget.

We would discuss more in our next report “Indian Economy in 2009-10 Overview”

(SA) Recovery in Economy: How Indian Economy Would Fare With The Large Fiscal Deficit by the End of Year 2009?

Is the 35% to 70% rally in a global stock market showing the recovery in the global economy or it is just a bear market rally? But its clear, this rally cannot be justified why? Lets start read the whole review. Even before the World Bank prediction, VMW have already made a bleak outlook for the global economy.
 
Click here to get India's State-wise GDP Data.

Recovery in EconomySince Mar, 2009 – equity markets has rallied by more than 30% from their Mar ’09 lows. What we could expect from this? Is it showing the recovery in the global economy or it is just a bear market rally or it is just giving some hope of recovery in the global economy? Whatever the recent trends in the global financial markets are developing, but the situation is still unclear. Economies are still struggling, investors are still losing their wealth, banks and financial companies are still losing their profits, credit market are still nervy, people are still very anxious about their job prospect, consumers are still shunning from the spending, companies are still losing their markets, and there are lot of other problems, which are revolving around us. Everyone is questioning about the economic prospect. For how long, this recession will last? When we should see the time of better prospect which we had witnessed before this crisis? 

Do you believe, the economy is now going to settling down or at least set to recover from here? Hmm…Yes, but not at a full pace. Since the crisis has embarked, banks and financial institutions have lost more than $700 billion in total losses, and it is not very easy for them to recover from this huge massive trouble in a very short period of time. Banks and FIs are striving to sustain their business in these tough times. Financial condition of the banks however is still not in a good shape and their bad assets in a balance sheet are still a major setback for them to recuperate from this. However, the government authorities and central bank around the world are taking adequate measures to heal the bank’s pain to put these banks back on the growth track. 

What are the Problems/Challenges, Indian Economy is facing? 

  • Disparity between Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Higher Fiscal Deficit
  • Balance of Payments
  • Falling Exports
  • Rising Government Borrowings
  • Global Economic Challenges
  • Economic Reforms
  • Final Budget

We’ll discuss these points in detail latter… 

Liquidity Situation: Then & Now 

Exhibit 1: India's Call Money Rate between Jun '08 and Mar '09

Exhibit 1: India's Call Money Rate between Jun '08 and Mar '09

 

Now, let’s talk about the Indian economy and its financial system. Indian Government is persistently putting pressure on the Indian Banks to reduce interest rates to the important sectors like Real Estate and Infrastructure. The liquidity situation in the country was very fickle and lot of apprehension in the call money market when the global recession was at a peak during Sep, 2008 followed by the collapse of Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Incorporated.  At that time, banks even unable to lend to each other, resulted call rates jumped up to 20% (See Exhibit 1 for the reference). However, the liquidity is now at a comfortable levels and call rates lingering around 3% and 4% and even falls below 3% in May ’09. If the Indian economy has an adequate amount of liquidity in the system, so why banks and financial institutions are still dis-inclining to lend? 

Firstly, this crisis proved to be the disastrous one especially for the international banks. Indian banks are still far better than the foreign banks. In India, banks have only saw decline in their revenue growth and profits and in some cases mark to market losses (largely known by MTM losses), however the foreign banks have lost almost trillions of dollars in the last 6 quarters and still struggling to do their business as usual. So, here the reason could be the lack of confidence. Secondly, the higher cost of credit. In India, the banks are largely depend on the time deposits (also known as Fixed Deposits or Term Deposits) for the primary source of funds to lend in which they have to offer more than 7% interest rate to the depositors. The cheaper source of credit to the banks is Current Account and Savings Account deposits (also known as Checking Account). Generally banks offer 3.5% to 4% interest rates on Savings Account and nil on Current Account. That is the reason – banks are now focusing on to reduce the cost burden. 

Stimulus Package Announcement? To refuel the growth in the export oriented industries, newly elected government should consider announcing Stimulus Package for the export industry such as Textiles, Gems & Jewelers, Steel and other industries which are vastly depend on the exports and to focus on the lower cost of credit to revive the infrastructure, Real Estate sector and Auto Sector. 

Indian economy as a whole 

India's CPI and WPI Comparison for Year 2008.

India's CPI and WPI Comparison for Year 2008.

 

Earlier, we’ve mentioned some important points which are specifically have certain influence on the Indian Economy. Out of those, one the most prominent is the variance between the WPI and CPI which actually making difficult for the RBI to take stance. Since the change in base year in Wholesale Price Index (WPI), inflation has steeply fallen from over 10% to almost zero within 6 months and interestingly, CPI has not been affected that much and still at over 8%. This is going to be a troublesome for the Reserve Bank of India while considering any change in its monetary policy. RBI should consider CPI numbers while taking any appropriate decision on the interest rates. Overall the inflation rate has created confusion for the RBI, that is the reason, the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Planning Implementation (MosPI) is going to launch CPI next year. 

US Dollar Trivializing and Euro Gaining Fiat Currency Status? Now, the another important developments since last year is rising Fiscal Deficit. This is not a single problem in the Indian Economy alone, actually many economies around world are facing the same kind of threat. US and UK probably would face the de-rating of their Bond/debt from the credit rating organizations. What would probably going to happen? Of course US Dollar may witness significant reduction in its value against the major currencies as the biggest creditors – China, Japan will sell US Treasury en-masse. The world’s fastest developing nations like India, China, Russia, Brazil are the biggest holder of US Dollars and may consider to revise their dependence on the US Dollar and in that case, US Dollar would lost its status as a Fiat currency (or universal currency) and will see the huge depreciation. 

Countering Tax Evasion is the Solution to the Soaring Deficits? With the Governments facing rising budget deficits while combating the economic crisis, tax authorities around the world have agreed on a plan to encourage tax compliance and counter tax evasion specially focusing on the banks, financial institutions, wealthy individuals and offshore investments. US, which have announced trillions of dollars of bailout packages to protect its economy is going to face significant rise in Debt to GDP ratio, perhaps would excess the 100% mark. The bailout packages, which cost nearly $5 Trillion to the American Taxpayers, will have to endure this strain possibly for the next decade. But the Indian economy in particular, which largely depends on the foreign inflows (FDI or FII) should check the rising fiscal deficit in order to maintain its sovereign rating. 

Higher Inflation prospect? Lets check the Indian Government’s borrowing in the last four quarters of the financial year 2008-09.


The given below table shows the borrowings of the Indian Government in the last four quarters of FY2008-09. The amount shown is in Crores (Ten Million) of Indian Rupees.

 

Year 2008        
Public Debt Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1
         
Internal Debt        
Market Loans 1,200,576.00 1,170,756.00 1,137,203.00 1,104,553.00
91 Day Treasury Bills 69,892.00 51,501.00 52,250.00 30,371.00
14 Day Treasury Bills 56,043.00 41,080.00 48,770.00 68,630.00
Other Debts 569,211.00 598,777.00 603,577.00 576,946.00
         
  1,895,722 1,862,114 1,841,800 1,780,500
         
External Debt 258,194.00 237,352.00 220,902.00 210,083.00
Other Liabilities 520,148.00 471,147.00 479,719.00 483,490.00
         
Total Public Debt of India 2,674,064 2,570,613 2,542,421 2,474,073
% age of Annual GDP 53.75% 51.67% 51.11% 49.73%
         
 The above table may not be accessible clearly. Please follow the link to access the full length We really apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. 

As you can see from the above table which shows the Indian Government Debt, which is continuously rising. The upward trend in the Debt to GDP Ratio is actually showing the signs of concern. This would ruin the country’s credit rating and makes credit expensive to all of us. Moreover, the rise in issue of Bonds to the central bank would force them to print more money and infuse that money into the economy which could lead to rise in stock of money. Currently India’s stock of money (M1) stood at $261.49 Billion in compare to $253.06 Billion in Mar 2009. Rise in money supply means higher headline inflation. 

After the elections, there is a rise in optimism among the investors and businesses. There are lot of tasks which are pending to the new government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which is also known as a Architect of the Indian Economy by opening up the Indian Economy since 1990s and the business leaders are expecting the same from the PM and his cabinet as they have a liberty to announce the favorable reforms for the Indian economy and to open up the Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) route in the sectors like Banks, Insurance, Retail, Infrastructure, Power and other sectors. After this, government should also need to focus on larger gap in Balance of Payment. Higher Current Account (CA) deficit is largely caused by the falling exports. As the Indian Economy is facing lot of challenges from the global economic downturn, so far the federal government had announced the two stimulus packages for the sector to enhance the potential of the export industry to survive in the challenging time and to boost the domestic demand and the industry is expecting the another stimulus package as the condition of the global economy is still looking uncertain. 

Economy in Rest of Year 2009 

Not easy to answer! When the year 2009 was approaching after bloody ending of 2008, economist around the world were expected that the economy should continue to contract and even sharper than expected. Central banks around the world have slashed their interest rates further in order to fuel the economic growth engine and even the crucial G-20 summit in London also proved as a sturdy solution for this global mess. Global equity markets have regained their strength and recovered by more than 30% from their Mar ’09 lows. That is the strong thumbs up from the investors in response to the global authority. But economies like US, UK, Germany, France, Japan and other developed economies are still contracting and seeing the worst economic data in more than a decade. US economy in particular, will take at least five years to recover from the massive amount of losses that has damaged the country’s financial system badly. Now the trillions of dollars of bailout package has been announced in response to this crisis and this will probably swell to multi trillion dollars in amount in the next few years and indeed will convert into a huge deficit for the country, which will be inherited to the newer generation of the country. Indian economy is also facing the same challenge, and this threat must be contain for a fresh start of the global economy by following the determination of the G-20 Summit which was held in London, UK. 

So overall, the situation is sill in a very bad shape and the recovery in the global market is not showing the real picture. The rise in consumer confidence, business sentiment, and the perception about the particular economy would take some time to revive. 

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(SA) Interim Budget 2009 Review: Fiscal Deficit Swells to 8% to the GDP.

Please Read the latest report on India Budget 2009.
India’s Fiscal Deficit swells to 8 per cent of the annual gross domestic product, govt spending likely to rise and tax rate cut are less likely. However, Govt has reduced Excise Duty and Service Tax to shore-up the economy.
 
 
Pranab Mukherjee

India's External Affairs Minister (Foreign Minister)

 

Then Minister of External Affairs – Mr Pranab Mukherjee, who was in charge for Finance Ministry also for a while, has announced the Pre-Election Interim Budget 2009 for the Fiscal 2009-10. Markets and the corporate world has anticipated lot of changes and reframing of policies to weather the current global economic downturn however, the Interim Budget has banished all the factors to support the Indian economy. Interestingly, he has pointed out that the major policy announcement would take place post election in the Regular announcement of the General Budget which was held in May, 2009. 

In his budget speech, he merely stressed upon the Rural Development by expanding the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) from Rs. 5,500 Crores ($1.13 Billion) for the year 2003-04 to Rs. 14,000 Crores ($2.87 Billion) for the year 2008-09. Apart from that, he has discussed, exactly what the UPA Govt have did in the last 5 years of their tenure. On the most important Financial and Tax reforms front, he has left this portion for the Regular Budget announcement. He said the, tax rates must fall in these stressful economic times, while the majority of industry has expected positive changes on the tax front and the ailing Real Estate and Infrastructure sectors had anticipated for support from the Government. Now, the RBI is the final ray of hope until the General Elections in a way of reduction in policy rates by at least 100 bps. 

India’s Finances 

Since the last Year’s Budget announcement, the Indian Govt’s finances have totally shaken up. Three major developments like provision for pay revision (Sixth Pay Commission), loan waiver and finally National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and various other subsidies has led to significant intensification of the India’s Fiscal Deficit. Initially, Govt had pegged it at 2.1% of the India’s GDP. This Fiscal Deficit has to be rise for sure as the Govt has announced two different Stimulus Packages in the last couple of months to stimulate the economy and the domestic demand, extra spending under NREGA, Subsidy on Oil and Fertilisers and most importantly the lower revenue/receipt from Taxes. Government is also expecting lower tax revenue in this fiscal year due to global economic downturn. The abstract of “Demand for Grant” is given below:  

  • Pay & Pension Revision: Rs. 28,505 Crores ($5.85 Billion)
  • Oil Subsidy (Oil Bonds): Rs. 65,942 Crores ($13.54 Billion)
  • Fertilizer Subsidy (incl Bonds): Rs. 64,866 Crores ($13.32 Billion)
  • Food Subsidy: Rs. 11471 Crores ($2.36 Billion)
  • NREGA: Rs. 25,000 Crores ($5.13 Billion)
  • Farmer’s Debt Relief: Rs. 15,000 Crores($3.08 Billion)
  • Transfer to States: Rs. 12,741 Crores ($2.61 Billion)

The total cost of those subsidies (including bonds) and other packages is Rs. 223,525 Crores ($45.9 Billion) which means, the it works out to 4.4% of the India’s GDP. If the Govt adds the reduction in tax collections, it could cost 1 per cent of GDP. According to the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), the Fiscal Deficit in the Union Budget had been placed at 2.5% to which, the addition of 4.4% and 1% to this number would definitely raise the total to nearly 8% of the GDP. Credit Rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and Fitch are closely watching the India’s fiscal shortfall and this would definitely force them to downgrade the India’s Sovereign Debt rating. On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 S&P has reaffirmed the India’s rating to BBB-, means downgrading India from “Stable” to “Negative” outlook. 

What would happen, if the Fiscal Deficit rises? It means, that the Government will borrow extra to finance their expenditures (planned or non-planned). We won’t evade the higher monetary inflation. If the Government borrows extra for its spending, then the level of money supply will rise because it will force the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to print more money – which would lead to the higher inflation at least in the medium term. Currently, the India’s national debt is 59% of the annual gross domestic product (Central and State Government combined). At VMW, we have earlier discussed about the deflation in the Developed Economy, however we’ve ruled out the Headline Deflation in India. Maybe the short term, Government borrowing will prevent the further fall in inflation. There is also a possibility of higher interest rates in the long run. 

As a result, there is a limited room for the Government to ramp up the spending without causing the structural harm to the economy. That’s why the Government is reluctant to cut tax rates and in the near future, Government may also consider reducing subsidy burden on Oil and Fertiliser by 1.6% of the GDP and this Interim Budget proves merely a performance review of the Government. 

Please Note: All figures in US Dollar (USD) terms are converted at Indian Rupee (INR) 48.70 aganist the USD. 

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(SA) Economy In Crisis: What The Year 2009 Holds For India?

    

The Global Recession 2009.The Year 2008 was dreadful for the Global Economy. It started small in the mid of 2007 and then it went global. This Economic crisis which some Economists observing it analogous to the “Great Depression in 1930s”. This crisis has affected all of us by number of ways. hundreds of thousands of jobs has been lost so far and still counting. The deteriorating US, Japan and the Euro Zone Economy impelling the Indian economy on the downside. The other developing economies are also not immune to this global downturn. Fastest developing nation – China fears, their economic growth should fall to even below 6% from 11.4% in 2007. Global equity markets also fell heavily due to major slump in the financial sector. Indian Equity markets have lost half of its total value since Jan, 2008 peak while the other major markets fell between 35% and 72% and still there is no signs of recovery in the global financial markets as the economic situation is continue to worsen. The recent Macro economic data from the United States shows the further deepening of Recession. Falling demand for crude oil lead to steepest fall and now trading at 4 year lowest levels.   

India’s Economic Story   

Inflation Rate in 2008

General Trend: Inflation Rate in 2008

Developing economies like Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are emerging as an economic powerhouse.  Since the year 2002, Indian Economy grew at an average rate of over 8%. The recent Financial Tsunami which led to the severe recession are also affecting the developing nations. Some of the major economic factors are now in favor of the Indian Economy. One of the vital positive changes are cooling inflation (see the picture on the left side, showing the Inflation trend), commodity prices, Crude oil prices, falling interest rates. RBI still have a lot of room to ease its policy rates further when the inflation below 1%. In the Year 2008, RBI had revised its key rates several times to maintain the liquidity in the banking system. The lower interest rates will allow the banks to cut their benchmark lending rates, though the deposits will also see the reduction in interest rates. Lower commodity prices and crude oil prices is driving the Inflation on a downside.  Lower inflation means, lower cost of credit, which drives the economy on the upside, however in first half of 2009 (H1-09), growth will slow significantly as Industrial production suffers from lower exports. (see the given below picture showing the IIP trend in FY2008).   

IIP Growth in FY2008-09

General Trend: IIP Growth in FY2008-09

The recent economic indicators – Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data showed the negative growth of the economy, the another negative point for the Indian economy is rising fiscal deficit. Fiscal deficit estimated at over 8% of the India’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) (see our latest Post: “Interim Budget 2009 Review” for more information) and 3rd Quarter Advance Tax data which is fell by 22% over the corresponding year. It shows that the profitability of the Indian corporate is lessening. The fact is, “we’re now in the middle of the Global Recession” and we’ll see some more drastic changes in the global economy. Besides these factors, other important factors are falling demand for Indian exports and depreciating Rupee which will widen the Current Account deficit is another cause of concern. India’s largest import product is Crude Oil and weaker domestic currency would make imports dearer, however the weaker currency will lead to higher demand for India’s exports, but as mentioned earlier, the global recession have a drastic impact on India too.   

What To Watch Out For   

  • Headline Inflation will continue to fall and some economies (particularly developed one) will see short period of Headline Deflation in H1 of 2009. Reason: rapidly falling inflation, asset prices, and credit crisis. 
  • Central banks in across the world will continue to ease their monetary policy in the next three to six months to impede the deeper downturn and the risk deflation outcome.
  • FY09 earnings in India and 1st quarter earnings in the US and Europe. Bank’s result would be the top priority for the global investors as their positive corporate earnings might be an advance indicator for an improvement in the credit market and whole banking system which has a lead role to damage the global economy.

In the coming three to six months, the economies are expected to continue to contract as the negative impact from the credit crisis, a further deepening of the housing slowdown, a backlash in Emerging Markets. The 1st Half of year 2009 is very crucial and by mid-2009, economies are expected to return to positive growth rates and a subsequent slow recovery will materialize during H2 next year. The US would be the first to recover followed by Asia. The positive effects from falling energy prices, monetary policy easing, and fiscal stimuli will definitely work.   

The Reason For Recovery In H2 2009    

  • First of all, the falling Crude Oil prices from almost $150 a barrel to below $50 a barrel. Higher commodity prices were the main driver for the economic downturn last year. Food and raw material prices followed suit push the inflation on the downside. The lower inflation will act as a tax relief significantly supporting consumer purchasing power during the coming months.
  • Further widespread easing of Monetary Policy. US Central Banker, Federal Reserve will implement the Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) in its Jan, 2009 meeting. European Central Bank (ECB), the central bank of Euro Zone will likely to cut aggressively. This will lead to fade in credit crisis and the economy will start to recover.

Forecast For India   

VMW expects, India to grow at 6.2% in FY09 and 6.1% in FY10. On the RBI policy front, RBI should cut interest rates further to fuel the economic growth; however the robust Foreign Exchange Reserves and the strong domestic demand will protect the Indian Economy from sharp downfall.   

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This VMW Research is Marked as “Superannuated” by the VMW Research Team and the content of this research is no longer in use in today’s economic context, however certain references and inferences in this research can be use.