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Fitch Ratings Lowers India Growth Forecast To 0.8% In 2020-21

Fitch Ratings Lowers India Growth Forecast To 0.8% In 2020-21

Fitch Ratings on Thursday slashed India's economic growth projections to 0.8 per cent in the current 2020-21 fiscal year, saying an unparalleled global recession was underway due to the coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdowns. Earlier on April 3, Fitch Ratings had projected a GDP growth rate of 2 per cent for India in financial year 2021.

The estimate comes at a time when the government has extended a 21-day lockdown by 19 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has disrupted businesses and pushed an already-slowing economy into a standstill.

In its Global Economic Outlook, Fitch Ratings said India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slip to 0.8 per cent for the year April 2020 to March 2021 (FY21) compared to an estimated 4.9 per cent growth in the previous fiscal.

Growth is, however, expected to rebound to 6.7 per cent in 2021-22.

The rating agency predicted two consecutive quarters of contraction or negative year-on-year growth in current fiscal -- (-)0.2 per cent in April-June and (-)0.1 per cent in July-September. This compares to 4.4 per cent estimated growth in January-March.

Growth is expected to rebound to 1.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2020 calendar year.

Fitch said the slump in FY21 growth was mainly due to a projected fall in consumer spending to just 0.3 per cent in FY21 from 5.5 per cent a year back and a 3.5 per cent contraction in fixed investment.

The agency has further made large cuts to global GDP forecasts in its latest Global Economic Outlook (GEO) in response to coronavirus-related lockdown extensions and incoming data flows.

"World GDP is now expected to fall by 3.9 per cent in 2020, a recession of unprecedented depth in the post-war period," said Brian Coulton, Chief Economist at Fitch Ratings.

This would be twice as severe as the 2009 recession.

The decline in GDP equates to a USD 2.8 trillion fall in global income levels relative to 2019 and a loss of USD 4.5 trillion relative to pre-virus expectations of 2020 global GDP.

"No country or region has been spared from the devastating economic impact of the global pandemic," the rating agency said.

A notable feature of this update is sharp further downward revisions to GDP forecasts for emerging markets (EM). "With China and India both now expected to see sub-1 per cent growth, we expect an outright contraction in EM GDP in 2020, a development unprecedented since at least the 1980s," it said.