NEW DELHI: India’s economy probably expanded at its weakest pace in more than six years in the quarter to September, a poll showed, as consumer demand and private investment weakened further and a global slowdown hit exports.
The median of a poll of economists showed annual growth in gross domestic product of 4.7 per cent in the quarter, down from 5pc in the previous three months and 7pc for the corresponding period of 2018.
Economic growth could dip to around 4pc in the September quarter, two domestic television channels said on Wednesday, citing government sources.
If the latest figure for expansion of gross domestic product is 4.7pc or less, the quarter will have registered the slowest expansion in 26 quarters, since 4.3pc in January-March 2013.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has taken several steps, including cutting corporate tax in September, to boost investments and bolster economic growth.
Economists predicted the Reserve Bank of India would cut its repo rate for the sixth time in a row, by 25 basis points, to 4.9pc at its December 3-5 meeting.
“Agrarian distress and dismal income growth so far, coupled with subdued income growth expectation in urban areas, have weakened consumption demand considerably,” said Devindra Pant, chief economist at Fitch arm India Ratings and Research.
“Even the festive demand has failed to revive it,” he said, citing data on non-food credit, car sales and select fast moving consumer goods.
On Wednesday, opposition parties said in parliament million of people had lost their jobs and the country faced a “economic emergency”.
In her reply, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the economy faced a slowdown but no “recession” and cited several government measures to support economic growth.
Yesterday, she sought parliament’s approval to spend $2.7 billion in addition to a budgeted 27.86tn rupees in the 2019/20 fiscal year.
The unemployment rate in October rose to 8.5pc, its highest since August 2016, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.