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ICRA Cuts India’s FY23 GDP Growth Forecast To 7.2%

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NEW DELHI, March 29 (IANS): Ratings agency ICRA has lowered India’s FY23 GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent from an earlier projection of 8 per cent.
Besides, the rating agency projected GDP expansion in FY22 at 8.5 per cent, which is modestly lower than the National Statistical Office’s (NSO’s) second advance estimate of 8.9 per cent.
“Following the elevated commodity prices and fresh supply chain issues arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as the renewed lockdowns in parts of China, we have pared our forecast of India’s real GDP growth in FY2023 to 7.2 per cent from 8 per cent,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist, ICRA.
“Higher prices of fuels and items such as edible oils are likely to compress disposable incomes in the mid to lower income segments, constraining the demand revival in FY2023.”
However, she cited that the prescient extension of free foodgrains under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) until September 2022 may continue to offer some respite to the food budgets of vulnerable households.
“In the mid to upper income segments, normalisation of behaviours after the third wave is set to result in a pivot of consumption towards the contact-intensive services that were avoided during the pandemic, constraining the growth in demand for goods in FY2023,” she said.
Furthermore, the agency pointed out a gradual rise in the capacity utilisation to 74-75 per cent in Q3FY23 from 71-72 per cent in Q4FY22, leading to a potential modest delay in the awaited broad-basing of capacity expansion by the private sector.
At present, capacity expansion is being undertaken in select sectors such as cement, steel, as well as sectors covered under the PLI schemes.
As per ICRA, an early kick-off of the government of India’s (GoI’s) budgeted capex programme remains crucial to boost investment activity in H1FY23.
However, concerns have been raised as the execution risk is shifting to the states, with a considerable portion of the step-up in the GoI’s budgeted capital spending coming through the enlargement in the size of interest-free capex loan to the state governments to Rs 1 trillion in FY23 from Rs 0.15 trillion in FY22.
“Moreover, the K-shaped recovery appears likely to continue with the formal sector gaining market share in FY2023,” Nayar added.
In addition, ICRA noted that the economic activity rebounded post the rapid abatement of the third wave of Covid-19 in February 2022 and the lifting of the state-wise restrictions.
“As expected, the third wave had a much smaller impact on the confidence levels relative to the first two waves. While the early data for March 2022 is mixed, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the associated surge in commodity prices has heightened uncertainty, and the expected margin compression is likely to squeeze GVA growth,” the ratings agency said.
“ICRA expects the YoY growth in real GDP to moderate to 3-4 per cent in Q4FY22 from 5.4 per cent in Q3FY22. The YoY expansion in real GDP is, therefore, projected at 8.5 per cent in FY2022, a mild rise of 1.3 per cent relative to FY2020 levels.”

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