Research

India Foreign exchange reserves on a rising spree

India foreign exchange reserves have been on a rising trend for the past few weeks in 2024 and touched all-time high of $648.6 billion (bn) for the week ended April 5, 2024.

RBI Monetary Policy, April 2024: Analysis

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) monetary policy committee (MPC) kept repo rate unchanged at 6.5% in the seventh consecutive meeting along with the marginal standing facility (MSF) and standing deposit facility (SDF) rates unchanged at 6.75% and 6.25%, respectively.

“Viksit Bharat”: REFORMS IMPERATIVE

Indian economy witnessed a sharp contraction of 5.2 per cent in 2020-21 due to the pandemic. However, despite the global headwinds, the recovery has been equally impressive recording growth at 9.2 per cent in 2021-22 and by 7.2 per cent in 2022-23.

Second Advance Estimate on National Income; Investment Led Growth

The Second Advance Estimates (SAE) of National Income FY 2023-24 released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) show that the Indian economy is estimated to grow at 7.6% in FY 2023-24 as against 7.0% in FY 2022-23 and 7.3% growth in the first advance estimates of 2023-24.

GROWTH PROMPTS POLICY CONTINUITY

The interim budget presented in the election year does not indulge in giveaways or indulge in populism. It gives clear signals on policy continuity and the confidence of the government returning to power and continuing on the path of fiscal consolidation while prioritising infrastructure spending.

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT FLOWS TO INDIA Trends and Perspectives

India received massive net foreign portfolio investment (FPI) inflows of $ 9.5 billion, majorly comprising equity inflows, in December 2023. It was boosted by the resilient growth outlook for India along with stability in the position of foreign exchange reserves and external debt.

Analysis of RBI Monetary Policy, February 2024

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its bi-monthly meeting (December 6 - 8, 2023) kept the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.50%. Accordingly, the standing deposit facility (SDF) rate also stands unchanged at 6.25% and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate stand at 6.75%.

IN PURSUIT OF VIKSIT BHARAT Interim Budget 2024-25 Reiterates the Commitment to Fiscal Discipline and Growth

India’s Interim Budget 2024-25 aptly proposed the vote on account to enable authorized expenditures till the next government presents a full budget for FY 2024-25. As it opens with the resolve that, “We are working to make India a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047”, it spells out the vision for a developed India in harmony with nature and modern infrastructure, and with opportunities for all - citizens and regions.

India Welcomes 2024 Optimistic Growth Outlook Supports Aspirations

The first advance estimate of the National Accounts for 2023-24 released on January 5, comes as a pleasant surprise. The estimated GDP growth at 7.3% and the GVA estimated to increase by 6.9% is much better than the market expectations and much higher than the estimates by the multilateral institutions and international credit rating agencies.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Building Future Workscapes in India

The real estate industry in India has been exhibiting major resilience in recent years. The industry has tided over from the slowdown induced by the onset of Covid -19 pandemic and is now robustly contributing to economic growth. The massive growth seen in the Indian real estate industry is driven by the rise of demand for urban and semi-urban housing units and office and commercial space.

First Advance Estimates of National Income Stand On an Optimistic Note

The National Statistical Office (NSO) has released the First Advance Estimates (FAE) of National Income FY 2023-24. The release suggests that the Indian economy is estimated to grow at a rate of 7.3% in FY 2023-24 against the provisional growth rate of 7.2% in FY 2022-23.

SURGING Foreign Portfolio Investments to India Speak Volumes in December 2023

Foreign investments including the foreign portfolio investment (FPI) flows are majorly driven by macroeconomic factors in the recipient country. Factors such as higher interest rate, lower inflation, stable or higher GDP growth, currency depreciation, and stable trajectory of foreign direct investments often divert the flow of FPIs towards a particular country.

GROWTH STANDS ON BASE EFFECTS Higher Productivity and Prompt Vigil Indispensable

After the serious setback suffered during the pandemic, India has shown a stellar growth performance. The “V” shaped recovery resulted in the economy growing at 9.2% in 2021-22 followed by 7.2% in 2022-23.

As Expected, RBI Keeps the Key Policy Rates Unchanged and Focuses on Withdrawal of Accommodation

The monetary policy announced by the RBI today has kept the key policy rates unchanged. It has reiterated to withdraw accommodation and bring inflation closer to target while not adversely impacting on growth. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its bi monthly meeting (December 6 - 8, 2023) kept the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.50%.

ECONOMY TREADS WITH CAUTION AND CONCERNS

With elections to five states scheduled in 2023-24 and followed by the general election to the Lok Sabha early next year, there are concerns about serious fiscal slippage in the country. At a time when the country has been slowly recovering from the fiscal disruption caused by the pandemic, electoral promises involving large expenditure commitments to confer short-term gains to the electorate pose significant threats to fiscal sustainability. The success of the Congress party in the Karnataka elections which is presumed partly due to the five guarantees announced before the elections is being repeated in other states and the promises are flying thick and fast.

RBI has assigned higher risk weights to unsecured loans – A prudent and preventive step against potential NPAs

As a part of regulatory measures towards consumer loans and bank credit to NBFCs, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last week assigned higher risk weights to unsecured consumer loans of commercial banks and NBFCs by 25 percentage points. Consumer credit of banks and NBFCs which has a risk weight of 100% will now attract a risk weight of 125%. Risk weights on credit cards have been raised by 25 percentage points to 150% for banks and 125% for NBFCs. The move follows significant increase in the lending by the commercial banks on these categories of borrowers.

INDIAN TEXTILE INDUSTRY: The Changing Landscape

Indian textile industry is one of the oldest in the world and has evolved over a period of over 5000 years. The earliest records of Indian cotton threads date to around 4000 BC and those of dyed fabrics are documented around 2500 BC. Over the years, Indian textile industry has transformed enormously and has set standards of fabric making as well as the fashion industry across the world. It has a history of producing high-quality textiles that are unique and representative of the rich cultural heritage of different regions and states in India.

GOVERNMENT’S THRUST ON CAPEX – Improving the Quality of Spending and Crowding in Private Capex

Expenditure on infrastructure, public health and education enhances productivity across the economy. An important aspect of the spending pattern of the government lies in the consideration of how much is actually allocated and spent on capital expenditure as the same crowds in private investment and enhances productivity. Ultimately, it is the effect of expenditure on economic growth and human development that matters. Incurred on the development of equipment, infrastructure, machinery, health facilities, education, etc., capex determines the quality of spending by the government while also reflects the policy aims of the government.

Sustaining Growth In Uncertain Times: Inflation Receding But Prompts Vigil

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its October 6 statement has maintained both GDP and inflation forecasts for FY 24 at 6.5% and 5.4% respectively. The growth is expected to decelerate from 7.8% in the first quarter to 5.7% in the fourth. While there are no changes in the quarterly projections of GDP, the inflation projection for the second quarter has increased from 6.2% to 6.4% mainly due to a sharp increase in the prices of vegetables. As expected, there has been a significant cooling down of vegetable prices, and the inflation rate has decelerated in September to 5%.

Monetary Policy Springs No Surprises

The monetary policy announced on October 6 by the RBI Governor springs no surprises. In a unanimous decision, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has kept the policy rate unchanged at 6.5% and standing deposit facility and marginal standing facility rates remain at 6.25% and 6.75% respectively. The MPC has decided to focus on the withdrawal of the accommodative stance by a 5-1 majority to align inflation to the target.

ECONOMY RESILIENT, Growth Persists Amidst Inflation

The first quarter GDP growth estimate for the current year at 7.8% released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme is indeed creditable in an environment of global slowdown and at a time when most countries have been struggling to post reasonable growth. Although it is lower than the 8% growth projected by the RBI, the estimate conforms well to the market expectations. Of course, in the coming quarters, the economy is likely to slow down and the growth for FY24 is estimated at 6.5% by the RBI.

Food Inflation – An Ingredient of Concern in Combatting CPI Inflation

Economies across the globe have been combatting inflation. In India, the y-o-y CPI inflation climbed a 15 months high to 7.44% in July 2023 mainly on the back of sharp escalation in food inflation by 11.4%. While the CPI inflation scaled higher on back of food inflation, the latter peaked due to higher prices of vegetables, spices, pulses, cereals and milk and milk products. Inflation in vegetables rose as high as 37.34%; tomatoes reached as high as Rs 200 /kg. Inflation in spices stood at 21.63%, pulses at 13.27%, cereals and products, 13.04% and milk and milk products 8.34%. The only respite to consumers lied in lowered prices of oil and fats that witnesses a deflation (-16.8%)

Aspirations for Internationalization – The case of the Indian Rupee during the 77 th year of Independence

The emergence of global crises with potential to generate major economic and financial upheavals such as the Southeast Asian Crisis of 1997, the US subprime crisis of 2008, or the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, have time and again brought forth the concerns and debates exploring the possibilities of ushering in a multi-currency system.

CPI Inflation - A Pressing Concern, Food Inflation - Too Costly A Component, Reveals Data for July 2023

The all India y-o-y CPI inflation scaled to 7.44% in July 2023, reaching a 15 months high and is much higher than the market expectation of 6.5%. The inflation rate was 4.8% in June. The sharp increase in the July inflation caused the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to revise the projection for the second quarter from 5.2% to 6.2% and for FY 2024 the projection has been revised from 5.1% to 5.4%.

Challenges Before the Sixteenth Finance Commission

The Sixteenth Finance Commission will have to be appointed soon and it will have challenging tasks in the prevailing difficult fiscal environment of Indian federalism. The Fifteenth Finance Commission‘s recommendations will be up to 2025-26 and the new Commission’s recommendations should be available for consideration by the Finance Ministry before presenting the Union budget for 2026-27.

The Debt Dilemma: Saving the Burden on the Future Generation

Elevated levels of India’s fiscal deficit and public debt have been a matter of concern in India for a long time. Even before the pandemic, debt levels were among the highest in the developing world and emerging market economies. The pandemic pushed the envelope further and relative to the GDP, the fiscal deficit in FY21 increased to 13.3% and the aggregate public debt to 89.6%.

GDP Growth in FY 2023: A Note of Cautious Optimism

A better-than-expected fourth quarter growth in 2022-23 at 6.1 per cent has pushed the growth rate for the year to 7.2 per cent. For most economic analysts, this came as a big surprise and is much higher than the assessment of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the RBI (6.8%). In a scenario of global slowdown, this is certainly creditable.

GST Reform to Aid Economic Recovery

The economic indicators show steady progress in the recovery process. Although the core sector growth continues to be muted, both manufacturing and service sector PMI indexes have shown a significant rise in April 2023 indicating a steady expansion of activities in these sectors. The manufacturing PMI increased to 57.2 as compared to 56.4 in the previous month, and this was the highest in the last 4 months.

State of the Economy: Challenges of Sustaining Growth and Controlling Inflation

In a surprise move, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to take a pause after increasing the interest rate in 6 consecutive meetings. It has increased the repo rate by 250 basis points (bps) since May 2022.

Focus on Growth and Fiscal Consolidation

The economy has passed through successive shocks in the last three years posing difficulties in both growth and macroeconomic stability. Beginning with 2020-21, when the economy contracted by 6.6 per cent due to the successive waves of the pandemic, it barely staged a recovery to 8.7 per cent in the next year and close to 7 per cent in the current fiscal.

Fiscal Policy Stance is Clearer: On to the Monetary Policy

There were considerable apprehensions about how the Finance Minister would balance the fiscal consolidation objective with the objective of reviving growth by increasing infrastructure spending. The budget proposes to compress the fiscal deficit by half a percentage point to GDP to 5.9% while increasing the capital expenditure from 2.7% of GDP to 3.3%

The Inflation-Growth Dilemma: Walking the Tight Rope

The Finance Minister has the difficult task of preparing the budget at a time when both global and domestic economic environment is far from being congenial. According to the IMF, the world economy is projected to grow at just about 2.7% in 2023 as compared to 3.2% in 2022 and 6% in 2021.

The State of Indian Economy: Growth-Inflation Conundrum

The muted economic growth situation and rising inflation continue to be a matter of concern in India. The Q2FY23 estimate of GDP at 6.3% on year-on-year (y-o-y) basis is significantly lower than the growth in Q1FY23 (13.5%). This partly reflects the waning of the base effect and partly the stickiness in the recovery process. While the growth rate of GDP is as expected, Gross Value Added (GVA) growth is 0.7 percentage points lower at 5.6%, which shows that a considerable part of it is due to the high collection of indirect taxes minus subsidies

Lower Quantum of Rate Hikes

The statement of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced today by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is in line with the BWR expectations. In a 5-1 majority, the MPC has decided to increase the policy repo rate by 35 basis points with immediate effect. With this, the repo rate at 6.25% has reached the February 2019 level. The stance of the MPC remains unchanged, continuing with calibrated withdrawal of accommodation, but with 4-2 majority.

Another repo rate hike is on its way

As the CPI inflation rate has continued to remain above the RBI’s tolerance limit of 6% for tenth consecutive months, the MPC is likely to continue tightening in its upcoming policy meeting. The RBI has already missed its inflation target range of 2% to 6% for three consecutive quarters, and with inflation still above the comfort zone, the rate hike seems inevitable. We expect the increase to be limited to 25 to 35 basis points.

Economic Recovery and Growth Acceleration: Searching for Fiscal Space

At last, there is some encouraging news on the economic front. Although the credit rating and multilateral lending agencies have been revising the growth rate downwards and inflation continues to rage above the upper tolerance limit, some high-frequency economic indicators are showing signs of continued recovery. Of course, it is still unclear whether this recovery will sustain, but it provides an encouraging possibility. Equally important is the fact that the fiscal implementation in the first half of the year has not been a matter of concern, but there could be challenges in ensuring adequate fiscal space to assist continued recovery while containing the deficits and debt at the budgeted level. It is important to take note of the challenges and ensure adequate fiscal space for continued recovery.

Fertiliser industry likely to witness healthy growth

BWR expects y-o-y growth of 2%-4% in domestic fertiliser production and 7%-9% growth in fertiliser imports during FY23 owing to an addition in production capacity, healthy demand backed by surplus rainfall and high sowing. Similarly,BWR expects that the fertiliser industry will maintain its profitability momentum in the remaining period of FY23 due to a massive subsidy allocation.

Rising automobile sales to aid automotive demand

BWR expects the auto component industry revenue to report y-o-y growth of 11%-13% in FY23.Due to supply-chain disruptions and a shortage of semiconductors, there was a gap between demand and supply of automobiles in FY22, leading to deferred demand.BWR expects demand in the FY23 aftermarkets to further increase at 6%-8%, backed by a change in peoples preference towards using older vehicles for a longer period.

MPC Meeting: A Balanced Policy Approach

The statement of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced today by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is in line with the BWR expectations. The MPC has decided to increase the policy repo rate by 50 basis points to 5.9% with immediate effect in a 5-1 decision. The stance of the MPC remains unchanged, continuing with the calibrated withdrawal of accommodation.

Modest moderation likely in FY23 GDP outlook

The prolonged war between Russia and Ukraine, and its adverse consequences have heightened the risk of a global recession. As central banks globally are aggressively raising interest rates to combat inflation, global growth recovery has weakened sharply, raising the fear of a recession in major advanced economies. Higher inflationary levels and a steady increase in the policy rate to combat the rising prices on the one hand and arrest the flight of capital on the other have increased the risk to the domestic growth outlook.

Cement demand to continue to witness healthy growth in FY23

BWR expects demand for cement to increase by around 10%-12% due to a rise in government spending on infrastructure development and real estate growth, despite a moderation in demand in the wake of higher inflation.With the rise in demand and continuous rise in input costs,BWR expects cement prices to further increase by about 4-6% y-o-y in FY23.

Monetary Tightening Approach to Continue

With the CPI inflation rate reaching the 7% level again in August 2022, the RBI is likely to continue with its monetary tightening in the upcoming policy meeting. We expect a 50 basis points increase in the repo rate and appropriate liquidity boosting measures to support growth.

Introduction of 5G: A Step Towards ‘Digital India’

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and Minutes of Usage (MOU) to increase y-o-y by 20-22% and 13-15% owing to another price hike and launch of 5G premium plans. Similarly,BWR expects the EBITDA margins of telecom operators to witness a 20-22% growth in their EBITDA.

Mixed growth signals; Recovery continues

Domestic growth prospects continued to be impinged by adverse global developments such as the prolonged Russia Ukraine war, tightening of financial conditions and rising risks of a global recession. However, there is some easing in price challenges and external concerns, such as easing crude oil prices, a reversal in capital outflows and an improvement in manufacturing activities in the recent months, bringing optimism.

Infrastructure and Policy Initiatives to Enable EV Momentum in FY23

The adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) has globally increased exponentially over the past decades mainly in light of rising environmental issues, such as global warming, caused by higher pollution. In India, the shift in consumer preference to EVs is supported by government incentives and also due to the increasing maintenance cost of non-electric vehicles, considering a rise in fuel costs.

Road Construction: On the Path to Recovery

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects led by government initiatives, road construction to increase by 9-11% in FY23. Similarly, BWR expects connecting O&M to BPC would increase the HAM efficiency and smoothen the operation of the road projects awarded under the HAM, thereby further increasing the market share..

Rising Interest Rates and Growth Challenges

The growth dynamics for FY23 changed tremendously following Russia’s war with Ukraine, and rising price pressures have added to the dilemma. The domestic growth prospects continued to be impacted by adverse global developments such as the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war, tightening of financial conditions, and rising risks of a global recession. Persistent supply-side disruptions and a meteoric rise in energy-related supplies have led to a spike in inflationary challenges, while worsening external concerns, rupee depreciation and the retrenchment of capital flows have been adding to the woes. The record-level inflation has also intensified significant downside risks to the growth momentum.

Focus on managing inflation; Forward guidance a little more hawkish

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) statement announced today, has increased the policy repo rate by 50 basis points to 5.4% with immediate effect in a unanimous decision. The statement continues to focus on the withdrawal of accommodation without a change in the policy stance to neutral.

RBI likely to raise repo rate by 25 to 35 bps in August MPC

Despite a slight dip in inflation, the RBI is likely to continue with its monetary tightening and increase the repo rate by 25 to 35 basis points as CPI inflation is still above the MPC’s upper tolerance level of 6%

Auto sales to surpass pre-pandemic levels in FY23

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects the growth momentum to continue for PVs and CVs at a rate of 12-14% and 16-18%, respectively, in FY23, largely supported by the deferred sales from FY22. Similarly, BWR expects automobile exports to grow by 14-16% in FY23 with some downside risks emanating from the rising probability of the global economic slowdown, which may hinder demand for domestic exports.

Private sector drives new project investments in Q1FY23

As per provisional data released by the CMIE, growth in new industrial investments during the April-June 2022 quarter (Q1FY23) on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis increased by 23.7%, while on a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) basis, it slid by 38.5%. The investments reported the first sequential drop on a q-o-q basis since Q3FY21. As compared to the corresponding period in previous years, the investments remained the highest since Q4FY19

Economy on the path to recovery; uncertainty prevails

On July 1 this year, we completed five years since the implementation of the reform of domestic consumption taxes to evolve the standard invoice-credit type destination-based consumption type value-added tax on goods and services. To get all the 29 states and union territories to agree to forgo their tax autonomy in favour of tax harmonisation five years ago was a phenomenal achievement. Not surprisingly, compromises had to be made, and the structure of the tax is far from ideal. With the improvement in administration, particularly the technology platform, the compliance of the tax has shown an improvement in the monthly revenue collection to record more than Rs. 1 trillion in the last ten months, and in June, the highest, at Rs. 1.45 trillion.

Indian steel industry to have a mixed FY23

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects that the growth momentum in the domestic market will continue in FY23 at a rate of 17-19%, backed by the rise in demand from various infrastructure projects. While the domestic market is expected to grow in FY23, Indian steel exports would take a downturn due to the rise in export duty.

Value-added dairy products to drive the industry in the near future

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects demand for both milk and milk powder to further increase by 5-7% and 4-6%, respectively, in FY23, with the revival of demand from the commercial segment. Furthermore, BWR expects key products under VAPs namely ghee, butter and ice-cream to grow by 8-10%, 6-8% and 14-15% respectively, in FY23.

Rising interest rates and heightened input costs may disrupt growth in real estate market in FY23

The real estate market, after witnessing robust growth in FY22, is expected to continue the growth momentum, albeit with some risks in FY23, with healthy demand from commercial real estate and slowing momentum from residential real estate.

Healthy growth expected to brew in the Tea Industry in FY23

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects the growth momentum to continue in CY22, and production and consumption to increase by 5-7% and 7-9%, respectively, in CY22. Although the increase in demand for tea and restrictions levied by the government on the import of substandard quality tea would enhance the production level by 5-7%, the increase in the wage rate could act as a speed breaker for the same.

Inflationary hurdle in the Economic Recovery path

The government is now being faced with the real policy dilemma between accelerating growth and taming inflation. With both domestic and global economic developments remaining inhospitable and with very little policy space left for calibrating fiscal and monetary policy options, both the RBI and Government are facing a serious policy dilemma.

Focus on managing inflation is the primary goal; more rate hikes expected

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting announcement today, has increased the policy repo rate by 50 basis points to 4.9% with immediate effect in a unanimous decision. The statement focuses on the withdrawal of accommodation without mentioning the neutralisation of the policy stance.

Inflationary challenges mount; RBI expected to hike policy rates by 50 basis points in June 2022 MPC meeting

Increases in global commodity prices, serious supply-side disruptions in essential inputs due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and accompanying sanctions and unfavourable weather conditions affecting supply of food items have adversely impacted both the output and prices. The escalation has also brought in considerable economic uncertainty. With surging inflationary pressures, we expect the RBI to increase the key policy rate by 50 bps in its upcoming policy announcement.

Paper industry to print healthy growth

The Indian paper and paper products industry witnessed numerous opportunities in FY22 to recover from prior years’ losses incurred due to the pandemic. The gradual reopening of educational institutions, resumption of work-from-office and popularity of online shopping made for some factors supporting demand recovery in the paper industry by 2-4% in FY22, and BWR expects the same to continue in FY23. Some major drivers for the paper segment were demand for kraft paper, which increased by 26-28%, and the revival of stationery paper and books (mainly due to a lower base effect) in FY22. BWR expects demand for paper products to increase moderately by 10-12% in FY23.

Renewable capacity additions doubled in FY22, set to reach record levels in FY23

FY23 is expected to be the best year for renewables in terms of additional capacity installed, as BWR expects a 15-18 GW capacity addition, with solar expected to add 13-15 GW and wind around 2-3 GW. The key reasons for this are effective government policy initiatives that have attracted substantial investments from the private sector, including foreign funds. Union Budget FY23 allocated Rs.19,500 crore for solar manufacturing under the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, which is expected to usher in investments worth Rs.30,000 crore and improve the manufacturing capacity.

Indian Gems and Jewellery Industry to Glow More in FY23

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects gold sales in the domestic market to witness 10%-12% growth in FY23 owing to an increase in consumers’ purchasing power, festivities during the year and pent-up demand from postponed weddings. With gold demand crossing the pre-pandemic level in FY22 and improving further, BWR expects gold prices to increase by 8%-10% in FY23 on account of high inflation rates due to the growing geopolitical tension.

Fragile economy, recovery uncertain

There has been a dramatic change in the global economic outlook and its transmission to the Indian economy in the last three months. The Russian war on Ukraine and economic sanctions following the same have engulfed the whole world and have caused severe global economic stress, affecting emerging market economies such as India the most.

Pharma Industry Health Check: Growth to sustain in FY23

Brickwork Ratings estimates the pharmaceutical industry’s revenue to have grown by 11%-12% in FY22 and expects it to grow by 13%-14% in FY23 owing to a recovery in non-covid related drugs, surgeries that were postponed due to the pandemic and the formulation of vaccine boosters.BWR expects the industry to continue to increase its R&D expenses in the coming years on account of an enhanced need in the market to introduce newer products.

Hike in rate cycle begins

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in an unscheduled off-cycle Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, has increased the policy repo rate by 40 basis points to 4.4% with immediate effect and the CRR by 50 basis points to 4.5% from the midnight of 21 May 2022. Although the statement reiterates the MPC continuing with the accommodative stance, it also talks about its calibrated withdrawal to fight inflation. These decisions of the MPC members are unanimous.

Growth on patchy path

The deterioration in the global and domestic macroeconomy has been on a fast track since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February. The massive destruction in life and properties, increases in global commodity prices and serious supply-side disruptions in essential raw materials due to the ongoing war and accompanying sanctions have adversely impacted both the output and prices. The domestic economy also has been severely affected by global developments, and the growth prospects do not look very promising.

Growth momentum to continue for the Indian cotton yarn industry

After having braved multiple headwinds in the last few years, viz., an unfavourable duty structure, volatile cotton prices and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian cotton spinning industry is finally enjoying its moment in the sun. The revival, which started in Q2FY21, was led by a surge in export orders, followed by recovery in domestic downstream demand.

MPC April 2022 Review: Towards Gradual Policy Normalisation

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has maintained a status quo on policy rates and has continued the accommodative policy stance in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision announced today. Both these decisions of the MPC are in line with Brickwork Ratings’ (BWR’s) expectations.

Investment Trends-Q4FY22

As per the provisional data released by the CMIE, new industrial investment for the January–March 2022 quarter (Q4FY22) increased sharply to Rs 5.1 trillion. Growth in investments on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis more than doubled, while on a quarter-on-quarter (Q-o-Q) basis, investments increased by 53.7%. Although, the number of new projects announced during Q4FY22 was 40% lower than in the previous quarter, the investment trend in new projects has shown a marked increase after showing steady deceleration since the onset of the pandemic.

BWR Expectations from the April 2022 MPC meeting

Despite surging inflationary expectations, supporting broad-based economic recovery remains a priority. The economy has still not fully recovered from the pandemic shock and adverse geopolitical developments impeding the recovery process.

Geopolitical headwinds disrupt economic recovery; FY23 GDP growth to likely be around 7.5%: Brickwork Ratings

Receding Covid-19 caseloads, coupled with lifting of restrictions, are expected to improve growth prospects in the coming fiscal. However, supply side disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and shortages of critical components like semiconductors are likely to pose inflationary worries and significant downside risks to the growth momentum.

Inflation Review

The CPI inflation rate increased marginally to 6.07% in February 2022 from 6.01% in January. The current level of inflation is the highest recorded in the last eight months and is also higher than the 5.03% in February 2021. The CPI inflation rate remained above the 6% mark for the second consecutive month is a cause for concern.

Geopolitical tensions put economic recovery at stake

As we heaved a sigh of relief when after almost two years, the Covid-19-led restrictions on economic activity were relaxed, and as we began to brace ourselves for economic revival and accelerated growth, we are now struck with a huge uncertainty due to the Russia-Ukraine war. The fallout of the war on the already battered economy is on both the growth and inflation fronts.

Bank credit to witness healthy growth led by revival in economic activities, well-capitalised PSBs and under control NPAs to aid growth

Going forward, in FY22 and FY23, BWR expects banks’ credit outstanding to increase by 7.5-8.5% and 8-9% respectively, backed by a revival and growth in services and industries. The services sector, which was the worst affected during the pandemic, is expected to witness a turnaround as restrictions ease and economic activities improve.

Indian telecom industry on the road to revival

The Indian tele-density has grown at a brisk pace in the past couple of years, making India the world’s second largest telecom network. Since the last couple of quarters, the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) has also grown at a steady rate, led by tariff hikes by all the three major telecom operators, as witnessed in November 2021.

GDP growth likely to be around 8.3% in FY22: Brickwork Ratings

The impact of the third wave of Covid on economic momentum may lower growth in the second half of the current fiscal (H2FY22). With the upward revisions of the FY21 GDP growth by Mospi, we revise our GDP growth projections for FY22 to 8.3% from the earlier forecast of 8.5% to 9%.

MPC maintains status quo to nurture growth

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has maintained a status quo on policy rates and has continued the accommodative policy stance in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision announced today. Both these decisions of the MPC are in line with Brickwork Ratings’ (BWR’s) expectations.

Nurturing Growth; Fiscal Support Continues

The Union finance minister was faced with severe constraints and challenges in formulating the budget this year. The pandemic is still on the rage, putting the brakes on capacity utilisation, particularly in contact-intensive sectors. The employment situation is precarious. Except for exports, all the growth engines are stuttering. Private consumption expenditure is still lagging from the pre-pandemic level, while government consumption and gross fixed capital formation have barely crossed it.

Growth over Inflation: MPC expected to continue with status quo

With the economy still in the recovery mode and the pandemic continuing to disrupt the recovery process, the MPC is expected to keep the policy rates stable at the current levels in its upcoming meeting, despite the persistence of higher inflation. However, there is limited scope for the MPC to continue with the current policy stance for long as supply chain disruptions, the elevated level of borrowing shown in the budget and rising crude oil prices amid excess liquidity may exert pressure on inflation.

Union Budget Brickwork Ratings Views

There were a lot of hopes and expectations about the 2022-23 Budget. Even as the economy has shown a revival, the first advanced estimate of GDP for the current fiscal shows that it has barely reached the pre- pandemic level. In some contact-intensive sectors, the revival has been slow and is yet to reach the 2019-20 level. These are the sectors that are employment-intensive, and two years of the continuous drag has created a huge burden of unemployment.

Economic Survey: A Realistic Stock-taking of the Economy

The Economic Survey presented in the Parliament today is essentially a stock taking document on the performance of the economy in the current year, various initiatives on the reforms initiated in various sectors to ease supply side conditions and measures taken to aid the recovery process, and structural reforms introduced for growth acceleration in the medium term. The Survey makes a realistic assessment of economic growth and macroeconomic stability based on reasonable assumptions without resorting to any rhetoric.

BWR Budget Expectations

The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on economic activities continued in FY22, with the emergence of new COVID variants disrupting recovery in the growth process. After a 7.3% contraction in the GDP in FY21, the economy was bracing for double-digit growth in FY22. Last year’s economic survey projected GDP growth at 11% for FY22. However, due to repeated restrictions following the new COVID mutants and second wave of the pandemic, growth momentum was constrained in several contact- intensive sectors of the economy.

Auto Components

BWR expects the auto component industry to witness a 15%-17% revenue growth revival in FY22 and 10%-12% in FY23 owing to a recovery in automobile sales, after having remained subdued in the last couple of years. Pent-up demand and a preference for personal mobility due to safety concerns led the recovery in automobile sales post relaxations in the lockdown. Additionally, a pick-up in economic activity augurs well for commercial vehicle sales. In addition, the scrappage policy and strict inspection of Pollution under control (PUC) certificates would boost the aftermarket of the auto component industry.

IIP down, Inflation up

The data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) has shown that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 5.59% (provisional estimates, measured by y-o-y change) in December 2021, and growth in Index of Industrial Production (IIP) stood at 1.4%

Recovery continued; Momentum weakened

The advance estimate of GDP for FY22 shows that economic recovery is still in progress and is yet to take firmer roots. The estimated GDP growth in constant prices at 9.2% is marginally lower than the RBI’s estimate of 9.5%. Even this looks optimistic, considering the fact that the advance estimates are made by projecting the actual trend in the important indicators of economic activity in the last 6-8 months, and it does not take into account the economic impact of the meteoric rise in Omicron cases, which has been forcing states to impose restrictions on economic activity in varying degrees.

Downside risks to economic recovery; GDP growth estimates revised downwards to 8.5%–9% for FY22

Economic recovery was well under way after the second wave of the pandemic although since October, there have been some disruptions caused by semiconductor shortage, along with supply shortages in coal and power outages causing a slowdown in the manufacturing sector. Rising input prices too have added to the problem. Nevertheless, there was steady improvement in economic revival.

Investment Trends: New project announcements continue to remain muted

As per the provisional data released by the CMIE, new industrial investment for the September-December 2021 quarter does not infuse much confidence. At Rs 2,086 billion, growth in investments on a Q-o-Q basis was (-)6.5%, although it was higher at 41% on a Y-o-Y basis.

Central government’s fiscal deficit to reach 7% of GDP in FY22, against budget estimates of 6.8% of GDP

Data on fiscal trends released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on 31 December shows that the cumulative fiscal deficit up to November 2021 adds up to 46.2% of the whole year’s budget estimate and is substantially lower than 135% recorded for the same period last year.

Stagnancy in Manufacturing Output Drags Overall Economic Growth

Although COVID-related restrictions on economic activity have been substantially relaxed, the relative stagnancy in the manufacturing sector output is a matter for concern. The expansion of the GVA in the manufacturing sector during the second quarter (Q2) of FY22 was the lowest among the secondary and services sectors, at just 5.5%, and as compared to the pre-pandemic level, it was just 3.9%. The sector’s performance in the two months of the Q3 too does not infuse much confidence. Growth in industrial production in October was at 3.2%, which is at eight-month low.

Growth-inflation dynamics: IIP falls, Inflation rises

Data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) shows that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 43 basis points over the previous month to 4.91% (provisional estimates, measured by y-o-y change) in November 2021. It was 6.93% in November last year.

Increased Fuel Prices and Policy Push Owing to Environmental Concerns to Aid Traction in Electric Vehicle Sales

Over the last decade, issues such as a deteriorating air quality due to high pollution, extreme weather events due to global warming and a high dependency on crude oil imports have been a cause of concern for the transport sector in India. These concerns can be mitigated in environment-friendly ways and through the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EV), which could go a long way in reducing pollution, as well as the dependency on crude oil imports. Among all the sectors, automobiles are the major producer of greenhouse gases and have been trying to build a footing for EVs in the market.

Economic recovery is fast-paced, but concerns remain

The second quarter (Q2) GDP estimates for FY22 show that economic recovery in India is well and truly underway. Growth in the GVA recorded in the Q2FY22 at 8.5% and in the GDP at 8.4% has been impressive. The fact that GVA growth is higher than that in the GDP shows that recovery in the economy is truly impressive. The lower GDP is mainly due to growth in subsidies exceeding the growth of indirect tax collections. The estimate has exceeded market expectations, as well as that of many rating agencies although it was quite close to Brickwork Ratings’ (BWR’s) estimate of 8.3%.

RBI maintains status quo; normalisation of liquidity continues

Brickwork Ratings, Bengaluru, 08 December 2021: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintained a status quo on policy rates and continued the accommodative policy stance in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision announced today. Both these decisions of the MPC are in line with the Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expectations.

Ceramic tiles expected to witness healthy growth led by strong exports and recovering domestic demand.

Brickwork Ratings (BWR) expects the Indian ceramic tiles industry, which is recovering from the pandemic impact, to witness 15%-20% growth in the next two years, i.e. CY21 and CY22. This can be attributed to an increased share of exports, coupled with the recovery in domestic demand on the back of the thrust on infrastructure development and real estate schemes such as Housing for All. Entities in the ceramic tiles industry have also been trying to penetrate new markets by promoting vitrified tiles, which can be used in non-residential spaces. The sector is highly competitive because of limited product differentiation and the largely unorganised nature of business.

Brickwork Ratings expects RBI to maintain status quo in December MPC meeting

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is to announce the policy decision on 8 December in its bi-monthly monetary policy meeting. The better- than-expected GDP numbers for Q2FY22 have provided much-needed comfort to the MPC on the growth outlook, while the new Covid variant Omicron weighs concerns on sustaining this recovery. Supply-side concerns are impacting the price level as well, although decline in oil prices witnessed in the last couple of weeks should bring in some comfort.

Fed Tapering Unlikely to Create Instability in Indian Financial Markets: Brickwork Ratings

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), on 3 November 2021, announced the unwinding of the policy accommodation provided by the Federal Reserve (Fed) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the FOMC statement, the Fed has announced its decision of beginning to reduce the monthly pace of its net asset purchases in stages- by USD 10 billion for Treasury securities and USD 5 billion for agency Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) starting later in November 2021.

Inflation and IIP Review

As per data put out by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), Consumer Prices Index (CPI), inched up by 13 basis points over the previous month to 4.48% (provisional estimates, measured by y-o-y change) in October 2021. The marginal increase in inflation in October over that in September 2021 was largely driven by rising fuel prices.

Economy is poised to record better growth; Sustained recovery is key.

Economic recovery in India is well and truly underway. Since the middle of March 2021, the second wave of the pandemic not only has created a severe health crisis, but has also forced the imposition of lockdowns in economic activities in virtually every state, thereby arresting the recovery process, which was underway since October 2020. Thus, although GDP growth in Q1FY22 was about 20.2%, it was well below the contraction in the Q1FY21 at 24.4%. With the relaxation of restrictions, the Q2FY22 has seen a steady recovery with increasing capacity utilisation in many sectors. However, full recovery is still some distance away, and many social distancing sectors are yet to resume their activities.

The Power Problem

With the lockdown-related restrictions on the economy being progressively relaxed owing to the declining COVID-19 cases and over 100 crore vaccinations administered, the economy has seen a fast-paced revival. October has seen a sharp acceleration in both, the manufacturing and services sectors, with the PMI index increasing to 55.9 from 53.7 in the previous month and the services PMI touching the highest in the last 10 years at 58.4 from the previous month’s index of 55.2.

Economic recovery underway; 10-10.5% growth expected in FY22: Brickwork Ratings

Many economic growth indicators are suggesting a faster-than-expected revival in economic activities, instilling greater confidence in economic agents as the number of new COVID-19 cases declines and leading to a sustained improvement in growth prospects. Most states have already relaxed restrictions on economic activities; with the progress achieved in vaccinating a sizeable proportion of the population, economic activities are likely to gather momentum. The pandemic toll on the economy has been huge, and contact-intensive sectors and supply disruptions may take some more time to fully recover.

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