India's GDP grows 7.7 pc in Q4, retains fastest growing economy tag

Hugh Fox
June 4, 2018

We expect GDP growth of about 7.3 per cent in 2018, down from our previous forecast of 7.5 per cent. But this did not prevent GDP growth, at 6.7% in 2017-18, from falling to its lowest rate in four years.

Showing signs of fully coming out of the shadows of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST), India's GDP for the fourth quarter of 2017-18 grew at 7.7 per cent, while for the full financial year 2017-18 it touched 6.7 per cent.

"Rapid growth in agriculture (4.5%), manufacturing (9.1%) and construction sectors (11.5%) contributed to the overall growth", the Indian government said.

The previous high GDP growth of 8.1 per cent was recorded in April-June quarter of 2016-17.

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As compared to India's outstanding performance, China Grew at 6.8% in the January to March Quarter.

For oil-importing India, the combination of a weaker currency and surging oil prices is a threat not only for the current-account deficit, but also inflation.

Thursday's data is likely to be a welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is set to seek a second term next year. The strong growth was largely a combination of three factors - a pickup in manufacturing, construction and agriculture. He said, good growth in the fourth quarter has reflected in GDP numbers.

Mining sector experiences a growth of 2.7 percent as against 1.4 percent in third quarter.

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"(It) seems like we have moved beyond the teething troubles related to GST implementation", said Tushar Arora, a senior economist at HDFC Bank. The sharp uptick in the construction GVA growth in Q4 FY2018 benefited from the trend in its inputs, such as cement and steel consumption, and activity in the infrastructure sector (including affordable housing), even as real estate and industrial capex is yet to pick up and consumer sentiment is yet to recover appreciably. However, we expect tighter financing conditions, rising oil prices and slower investments in the run-up to elections to slow GDP growth later in the year.

Monsoon rains hit the southern Indian state of Kerala on Tuesday, a few days earlier than normal, the country's weather office said, a development that potentially brightens the outlook for agricultural output and the economy. India meets 80 per cent of its oil needs from imports.

The growth in GVA was widespread led by public administration, which saw growth of 13.3 percent year-on-year.

He, however, agreed that the recent increase in global oil prices will have certain implications, adding that the downward revision by Moody's was also due to the rising oil prices.

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