World Economy

India Continues to Lead Global Growth

India Continues to Lead Global GrowthIndia Continues to Lead Global Growth

India’s economy is picking up and growth prospects look bright—partly thanks to the implementation of recent policies, such as the nationwide goods and services tax.

As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies—accounting for about 15% of global growth—India’s economy has helped to lift millions out of poverty, Bloomberg reported.

But to sustain rapid growth and raise incomes for the country’s 1.3 billion people, India will need to build on the success of its reforms, the IMF said.

The $2.6 trillion economy was described by Ranil Salgado, the IMF’s mission chief for India, as an elephant starting to run, with growth forecast at 7.3% in the fiscal year through March 2019 and 7.5% in the year after that. The nation accounts for about 15% of global growth, according to the Washington-based fund.

Key risks flagged by the IMF in its annual Article IV assessment of the economy include higher oil prices, tightening global financial conditions and tax revenue shortfalls. Authorities should take advantage of stronger growth to bring down debt levels, simplify the consumption tax system and continue to gradually tighten monetary policy, it said.

After a shock cash ban in late 2016 and a disruptive nationwide sales tax last year, India’s economy is once again gaining momentum. Growth reached the fastest pace in seven quarters in January through March, and high frequency indicators from purchasing managers’ surveys to auto sales data show the economy is likely to grow above 7%.

The government is due to release gross domestic product data on Aug. 31 for the three months ended June. A high growth rate may not necessarily resonate with voters in elections next year as they continue to face issues such as unemployment and farm distress.

There are other risks. The rupee has plunged 7% against the dollar this year, the worst performer among major Asian currencies, threatening the inflation outlook. The Reserve Bank of India delivered its second straight interest rate hike last week as policy makers seek to maintain economic stability against a global backdrop of trade tensions and high oil prices.

Continuing structural reforms would be key to high growth, Salgado said in a conference call. Further rationalization of the goods and services tax would give maximum benefits, and labor reforms would be an incentive for companies to expand, he added.

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