Asia’s third largest economy recorded year-on-year growth of 4.4% in October-December, down from 6.3% in July-September, data released by the government on Tuesday showed. 

India’s manufacturing sector shrank by 1.1% year-on-year in the third quarter, a second straight contraction reflecting lower profit margins and weaker exports.

The sharp fall in the year-on-year growth rate is also partly due to a fading of pandemic-induced base effects and revision to last year’s growth, economists said.

India’s private consumer spending, contributing around 60% of GDP, rose just 2.1% year-on-year in December quarter, compared to downwardly revised 8.8% increase in the previous quarter, while capital investment rose 8.3% year-on-year compared to revised 9.7% growth in the same period.

Government spending declined 0.8% year-on-year in the December quarter compared to revised 4.1% contraction in the previous quarter.

The government, however, retained its growth forecast of 7% for 2022/23 while revising higher growth for the previous year to 9.1% from the earlier 8.7%.

“We are likely to hit the 7% GDP growth target for the year,” said India’s chief economic advisor V. Anantha Nageswaran at a press briefing. 

chart GDP

Acknowledging the risks from global and local inflation, Nageswaran said that policymakers need to be ready with supply-side and monetary policy measures to tackle inflation uncertainties.

Growth of 4-4.1% is possible in the January-March quarter, he said.

Even though a weaker global economy is likely to pull down India’s growth to near 6.4% next year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank project India to be the fastest-growing major economy in 2023.

chart GDP

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has raised its benchmark repo rate by 250 basis points since May last year and economists expect a further rate hike of 25 basis points to 6.75% in April, which could hurt growth in the coming quarters.

“Borrowing costs may stay higher for longer and entrenched inflation may prolong tightening cycle globally,” he said.

In real terms, India’s GDP is estimated at 159.71 trillion rupees ($1.93 trillion) in the current financial year ending in March, about 9.6% higher compared to pre-COVID level of 145.69 trillion rupees ($1.76 trillion) in 2019/20, data showed.