HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

S&P warns of India's ratings downgrade post polls

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 07, 2013
First Published: 20:05 IST(7/11/2013) | Last Updated: 22:15 IST(7/11/2013)

Global ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) on Thursday maintained a "negative" outlook on Indian economy and cautioned that it could downgrade the country's sovereign ratings if the next government "does not appear capable of reversing India's low economic growth."

The agency maintained India's rating at BBB-, which is just a notch above "junk" that carries a higher risk of default by the government, but placed the onus squarely on the next government to turnaround the economy.

A downgrade will erode India's attractiveness as a global business hotspot and investment destination.

In choppy session, the Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark Sensex close 72 points down at 20,822.77-the lowest since October 28-as the S&P report triggered heavy selling.

"The negative outlook indicates that we may lower the rating to speculative grade next year if the government that takes office after the general election does not appear capable of reversing India's low economic growth," S&P said in a report released Thursday. 

"If we believe that the agenda (of the new government after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections) can restore some of India's lost growth potential, consolidate its fiscal accounts, and permit the conduct of an effective monetary policy, we may revise the outlook to stable. If, however, we see continued policy drift, we may lower the rating within a year," it said.

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