COVID: IMF lowers India’s growth projection to 9.5% for 2021-22

The agency in April had projected India’s growth at 12.5 per cent; its forecast tallies with that of other global and domestic agencies which have cut India’s growth estimates for the current fiscal

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The Reserve Bank of India has also cut India’s GDP projection to 9.5 per cent from the earlier 10.5 per cent. Representation photo: iStock

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday slashed India’s economic growth forecast from 12.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent for fiscal 2021-2022 following an onslaught of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IMF had made the earlier forecast (12.5 per cent) in April, around the same time the second wave of the pandemic broke out in India.

For 2022-23, IMF expects economic growth of 8.5 per cent, larger than the 6.9 per cent it had projected in April.

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“Growth prospects in India have been downgraded following the severe second COVID wave during March-May and expected slow recovery in confidence from that setback,” IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The projection comes at a time when the Indian economy that was severely battered by the first wave of the pandemic, is gradually recovering from a deep contraction in the fiscal year 2020-21.

IMF joins a host of global and domestic agencies which have cut India’s growth estimates for the current fiscal. Last month, S&P Global Ratings projected a 9.5 per cent GDP growth in the current fiscal and 7.8 per cent in 2022-23.

The Reserve Bank of India in its recently-held second bi-monthly monetary policy committee meeting for 2021-22 fiscal also cut India’s GDP projection to 9.5 per cent from the earlier 10.5 per cent.

While World Bank sees GDP growth at 8.3 per cent from April 2021 to March 2022, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) last week downgraded India’s economic growth forecast to 10 per cent from 11 per cent estimated in April.

Another US-based rating agency Moodys has projected India clocking 9.3 per cent growth in the current fiscal ending March 2022. For 2021 calendar year, Moodys has cut the growth estimate sharply to 9.6 per cent.

The GDP, which shrank from USD 2.87 trillion in 2019-20 to USD 2.66 trillion in the following year, is estimated to reach around USD 4 trillion in 2024-25.

Overall, the global economy is projected to grow 6 per cent in 2021 and 4.9 per cent in 2022. The 2021 global growth forecast is unchanged from the April 2021 WEO, but with offsetting revisions, the report said.

“The global economic recovery continues, but with a widening gap between advanced economies and many emerging markets and developing economies. Our latest global growth forecast of 6 percent for 2021 is unchanged from the previous outlook, but the composition has changed,” IMFs Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said in a blog post released along with the WEO.

Gopinath said IMF estimates the pandemic has reduced per capita incomes in advanced economies by 2.8 per cent, relative to pre-pandemic trends over 2020-2022, compared with an annual per capita loss of 6.3 per cent a year for emerging market and developing economies (excluding China).

“These revisions reflect important extent differences in pandemic developments as the delta variant takes over. Close to 40 per cent of the population in advanced economies has been fully vaccinated, compared with 11 per cent in emerging market economies, and a tiny fraction in low-income developing countries,” she wrote.

“Faster-than expected vaccination rates and return to normalcy have led to upgrades, while lack of access to vaccines and renewed waves of COVID-19 cases in some countries, notably India, have led to downgrades,” Gopinath added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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