World Economy

India Emerging as BRICS’ Biggest Growth Engine

India Emerging as BRICS’ Biggest Growth EngineIndia Emerging as BRICS’ Biggest Growth Engine

India is seen as a winner among the BRICS group of developing countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The spotlight has shifted to India from China, which is facing a rapid economic slowdown. In January-March, India’s economy will likely outpace China’s for the third straight quarter. In Russia and Brazil, things are worse: Output is declining, Asia Review reported.

The Indian government is predicting inflation-adjusted gross domestic product growth of 7.4% for the fiscal year ended March. That compares with 6.9% a year earlier and is in line with market forecasts. The data is due out Friday.  According to market projections, India’s GDP will expand by 7.8% in fiscal 2015.

Government forecasts have the economy growing by about 7.5% on the year in the January-March quarter. China has already announced 7% growth for that quarter, a six-year low. The two countries swapped places in the GDP growth race in the July-September period of last year, after India revised the figure using a new method to calculate the size of its economy early this year.

Not all of India’s economic indicators are so robust. In fiscal 2014, India’s crude steel and electricity production climbed more than 8%, but car sales rose only 4% or so. And the consumer goods sector, a component of the index of industrial production, fell 3.5%. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley remains bullish, saying the country has the potential to achieve double-digit growth. However, he is concerned about a lack of support for the country’s rural economy.

  Taking Stock

On the equity market, stocks have been rebounding of late in Russia and Brazil as crude oil prices hit bottom. Meanwhile, Indian shares have been treading water and do not reflect economic fundamentals all that well. But many market players expect an upturn in India shortly. Given that the central bank  has room for further cuts in its policy rate, the benchmark Sensex stock index appears ready to top its record close of 29,681 logged in January. U.S. financial services company Citigroup expects the index to reach 35,000 by June 2016.

In contrast, the Brazilian economy has hit a wall. Real GDP is expected to contract for the fourth straight quarter in January-March when figures from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics are released Friday. Itau Unibanco Holding, one of the country’s leading banks, forecasts a year-on-year decline of 1.9% in the quarter, a sharp decline from the 0.2% fall the October-December quarter of 2014. Low resource prices have hurt exports and there is no sign of a pickup in foreign investment. Inflation, meanwhile, is rising.