Just how bad is the rot in the economy?

A host of indicators point to the growth slowdown becoming more entrenched

Samar Srivastava
Published: Nov 16, 2019 08:24:09 AM IST
Updated: Nov 16, 2019 10:13:10 AM IST

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

g_123685_bg_economicslowdown_mx_23aug_17_54_280x210.jpgImage: Mexy Xavier

As the Indian economy started slowing since last Diwali, car sales dipped, consumer goods companies reported lower volume growth and businesses found it harder to borrow money. As growth continues to weaken, a host of indictors are pointing to a much deeper malaise than initially believed. Diesel sales are down and with it truck sales; loan growth has fallen and wholesale price inflation, a key indicator of the pricing power of industry, now reads below 1 percent.

The immediate result has been a realisation that growth in FY20 is unlikely to revive. GDP estimates for FY20 have been cut to 5 percent from the earlier 6.1 percent, according to Soumya Kanti Ghosh, chief economic advisor of the State Bank of India. He points to the global growth slowdown and the lack of demand from the Indian consumer as primary culprits even as he believes that further rate cuts are unlikely to revive demand on account of the leverage consumers have already taken. When might growth revive? Look for increased credit growth, rising imports and higher truck sales. Ghosh believes that is at least two quarters away and has penciled in 6.2 percent as his FY21 target.

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