© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk at a crowded market amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the old quarters of Delhi, India, April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
(Reuters) – Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) has lowered its forecasts for India’s economic growth in the next two fiscal years, saying a global slowdown, surging oil prices and weak domestic demand would take a toll on Asia’s third-largest economy.
Gross domestic product growth will be 7.6% for fiscal 2023 and 6.7% for fiscal 2024, 30 basis points lower than the previous estimates, the brokerage said in a note dated Tuesday.
The cut reflects a pronounced economic impact from the Russia-Ukraine conflict that has driven up crude prices, pushing retail inflation in India – the world’s third-biggest oil importer – to its highest in 17 months.
“The key channels of impact will likely be higher inflation, weaker consumer demand, tighter financial conditions, the adverse impact on business sentiment, and a delay in capex recovery,” said Upasana Chachra, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist for India.
Both inflation and the country’s current account deficit will likely get worse due to broad-based price pressures and record-high commodity prices, she added.
In a move to contain unruly inflation, India’s central bank raised its main lending rate off record lows at an off-cycle meeting earlier in May. Markets see the Reserve Bank of India hiking its key rates further in the coming months as inflation remains elevated.
The country has also been importing oil from sanctions-hit Russia at discounted rates to ease some of the pressure from surging crude prices, which recently touched $139 a barrel.
India meets nearly 80% of its oil needs through imports and rising crude prices push up the country’s trade and current account deficit while also hurting the rupee and fuelling imported inflation.