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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

India to grow at over 6% in 2014-15: World Bank

PTI  Washington DC, January 15, 2014
First Published: 11:05 IST(15/1/2014) | Last Updated: 13:05 IST(15/1/2014)

The World Bank has projected India's economy will grow over 6% in 2014-15 and 7.1% by 2016-17 as global demand recovers and domestic investment increases.
 
In China, growth is estimated to stay flat in 2014 at 7.7%, slowing to 7.5% for the next two years, reflecting deleveraging and less reliance on policy-induced investment.
 
Global GDP growth may firm up to 3.2% this year from 2.4% in 2013, stabilising at 3.4% and 3.5% in 2015 and 2016, respectively, the World Bank said in its Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report released on Wednesday.
 
According to the report, the global economy is projected to strengthen this year, with growth picking up in developing countries and high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis.
 
"Growth appears to be strengthening in both high-income and developing countries, but downside risks continue to threaten the global economic recovery," said World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim.
 
"The performance of advanced economies is gaining momentum and this should support stronger growth in developing countries in the months ahead. Still, to accelerate poverty reduction, developing nations will need to adopt structural reforms that promote job creation, strengthen financial systems and shore up social safety nets," he said.
 
According to the report, in South Asia, weaker growth in India, following several years of rising inflation and current account deficits, has opened up a large negative output gap, which is projected to gradually close as the economy slowly recovers. Better Indian performance will be heavily reflected in the region's growth, which is expected to strengthen to 5.7% in 2014 and about 6.7% in 2016, it said.
 
Growth in South Asia is estimated to have been a very weak 4.6% in 2013, mainly reflecting weakness in India.
 
Growth appeared to be recovering toward the end of 2013, and regional GDP on a calendar-year basis is projected to slowly accelerate to about 6.7 % in 2016, mainly reflecting stronger growth in India and a cyclical recovery in investment and external demand, it said.

"India's growth is projected to rise to just over 6 % in FY2014-15 and to increase to 6.6% in FY2015-16 and 7.1% in FY2016-17," the World Bank said. "Growth in India will be led by recovery in global demand and an increase in domestic investment, subject to downside risks."  

Pakistan's growth is expected to moderate slightly to 3.4 % in FY2013-14, reflecting necessary fiscal tightening, and then rise to 4.5% in the medium term, it said.
 
Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist and senior vice president at the World Bank, said the global economic indicators show improvement. But one does not have to be especially astute to see there are dangers that lurk beneath the surface, he said, adding that the euro area is out of recession but per capita incomes are still declining in several countries.
 
"We expect developing country growth to rise above 5% in 2014, with some countries doing considerably better, with Angola at 8%, China 7.7% and India at 6.2%. But it is important to avoid policy stasis so that the green shoots don't turn into brown stubble," Basu said.
 
According to the report, growth in remittances to South Asia is estimated to have moderated to 6.8% in 2013 from 9.7% in the previous year.
 
"Flows to India dipped in the first quarter, but with the depreciation of the rupee, they rebounded to reach an estimated $71 billion in 2013," it said.
 
India, with large current account and fiscal deficits and weaker growth, was hit particularly hard by a withdrawal of portfolio capital (resulting in steep currency depreciation) in the middle of the year, stemming from apprehensions of tapering of US quantitative easing, the Bank said.
 
"The rupee subsequently appreciated, in part because of policy interventions to support foreign exchange markets, and capital flows and equity markets rebounded as QE tapering was delayed to January," it said.
 
The Bank said weak GDP growth has already taken a toll on corporate and bank balance sheets in India, as gross non-performing and restructured loans rose to 10.2% of loans in September 2013, with India's central bank warning of stress on asset quality in the iron and steel and infrastructure sectors.
 
Further strains from a sharp withdrawal of foreign capital could increase risk of corporate debt distress, while one-off costs of bank recapitalisation can put pressure on fiscal positions, it said


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