New Delhi: India’s economy grew 4.7% in the December quarter, official data showed on Friday. The government also revised the growth rate for the July-September quarter from 4.5% to 5.1%, prompting a top government official to declare that the economy’s growth decline had bottomed out. The revision for the September quarter was up sharply from the 4.5% preliminary report, which would have been the weakest growth in more than six years.
The annual GDP figure for the September quarter has been ramped up from an earlier estimate of 4.5%, while the April-June reading was similarly lifted to 5.6% from 5.0%, according to news agency Reuters.
The data also showed that projections for economic growth in the full financial year 2019-20 had been retained at 5 per cent in the second advance estimates. In 2018-19, the GDP growth stood at 6.8%.
Top officials of the finance ministry interpreted the data to imply that the worst is over. Officials said the economy will grow faster in the last two quarters of the current financial year, although high-frequency indicators and anecdotal accounts are yet to reflect this, a Reuters report said.
The gross domestic product data released on Friday also showed consumer demand, private investment and exports all struggling, while higher government spending and an improvement in rural demand lent support.
“The 4.7% growth is in line with economists’ expectations,” Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC Bank said. He, however, cautioned that the likely impact of the coronavirus was beginning to play out in the last quarter which, along with expenditure compression by the government, imply that the last quarter’s GDP growth could be a disappointment. “This could mean that GDP for the year could be lower than 5%,” he said.
In its annual budget presented earlier this month, the government estimated economic growth in the current fiscal year ending in March would be 5%, the lowest for 11 years.