The upgrade, Moody’s first of India since January 2004, moves the rating to the second-lowest investment grade, one notch higher than Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, which have kept India just above “junk” status for a decade and more.The decision by Moody’s is a plaudit for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the reforms it has pushed through, and comes just weeks after the World Bank moved India up 30 places in its annual ease of doing business rankings. This author decodes what the rating upgrade means for the Indian economy.
International rating agency, Moody’s, upgraded India’s government debt rating from Baa3 to Baa2 on November 16 with a stable outlook. The last upgrade had happened way back in 2004 when Moody’s had upgraded the rating of India’s government debt from speculative grade to Baa3. The irony was that for a full 14 years the Indian government debt had been classified as just one notch above speculative grade. That did little justice to an economy that boasted of a GDP of $2.2 trillion and a market cap of $2.6 trillion. Indian economy is growing at a rate of above 7% which is on par or slightly better than China. The fact that India could sustain high growth at a time when the entire world was struggling is a testimony to the economy’s resilience. Remember, all this was done without letting the fiscal deficit out of control and adhering to the strictest standards of fiscal responsibility. To be fair, the one redeemable feature of this upgrade was that it was better late than never.
Why did Moody’s upgrade India from Baa3 to Baa2?
According to the note put out by Moody’s there were 4 key triggers for the upgrade from Baa3 to Baa2
• Moody’s believes that the reforms consisting of fairly significant moves like GST implementation, digitization via demonetization and the frontal attack on bank NPAs will not only strengthen India’s institutional framework but also increase productivity and help sustainable growth.
• Moody’s also believes that the government debt at 68% of GDP will remain stable once reforms are undertaken in a big way and growth comes back to the economy. This is critical because Baa median debt/GDP ratio is 44%.
• Thirdly, some changes in the macro institutional framework are also likely to be positive for India. The commitment of the FRBM, institutionalization of monetary policy through the MPC and the GST Council will promote transparency and fairness.
• The big trigger for Moody’s was the massive boost to resolving banking NPAs via the deployment of Recapitalization Bonds. This is likely to help banks grow their loan books, at the same time preparing for the post Basel-IV scenario.
But there are some words of caution too from Moody’s
Moody’s has also cautioned about some real risks to this upgrade. Factors like a low level of per-capita Nominal GDP, a threat of inflation, exposure to oil imports, current account deficit and the social inequalities could make the Indian economy vulnerable. That is something to be cautious about.
What does this rating upgrade mean for India?
In terms of the implications of these ratings, there are 5 key takeaways for now
• India is already the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) at over $60 billion per annum and this upgrade could expedite the flows of FDI into India.
• Foreign portfolio Investors are likely to increase their allocation to India as Indian becomes more attractive in risk-adjusted terms.
• External commercial borrowings (ECBs) could get cheaper as the rate of interest is calculated as a spread over the LIBOR and this spread is inversely related to the risk perception.
• If the reaction of the Nifty and the Sensex was any indication, equities have received this announcement positively. That is hardly surprising because a rating upgrade results in lower risk perception leading to lower cost of capital and therefore higher valuations for equities.
• Bond yields are likely to come down further as the spread with other country yields will now narrow due to the upgrade
Above all, this upgrade is a stamp of trust in India’s reforms process. That could be the key takeaway!
Washington D.C. [USA], Oct. 13 : Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has stated that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to India have increased in 2016-17, over that in 2015-16, indicating improve in the global confidence of the economy.
Jaitley, who participated in an Interactive Seminar organised by FICCI on "India Opportunity", opined that the Indian economy is poised for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, backed by the Government of India's focus on implementing structural reforms.
"There is clear evidence now that slowdown effect of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has now more or less played it out. The implementation of the GST from July 1, 2017 and its gradual complete transition, follow-up to demonetisation, and enacting other structural reforms by the Government of India would take the economy towards higher growth trajectory," he said.
Talking about infrastructural reforms, the minister highlighted the bold reforms introduced in India, which now have created impressive opportunities in infrastructure assets resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) process and in financial sector.
He also spoke about the interface between the global and the Indian economy; national investments and the Infrastructure Fund; and reform initiatives of the Government of India, especially to improve Ease of Doing Business.
Defending the case of reforms in the H1B/L1 visa processes and social security contribution during his bilateral meetings, Jaitley highlighted the contribution of skilled Indian professionals towards the US economy, adding that the same must be suitably appreciated by the receiving end.
"High calibre Indian professionals serving American interest won't be unfairly deprived of their well-earned money," he argued.
Jaitley also discussed Indo-US Economic Cooperation, with specific focus on how bilateral trade and investment can be improved between the two countries. For the same, he also held bilateral meetings with his US counterpart and Treasury Secretary; and US Commerce Secretary here.
"It is important to understand global spillovers of domestic policy actions of individual member countries. Subsequent versions of IMF's strong, sustainable and balanced Growth Report can examine analytical tools for policy spillovers," he said.
Furthermore, Jaitley, who participated in the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (CBGs) Meeting called for formulating the G-20 response by the member countries to address the challenges being faced by the global economy.
Arun Jaitley is currently on a one week official tour to Washington D.C. to attend the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Dr. Urjit Patel, Governor, RBI; Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Subhash Chandra Garg and other officials.
Indications are that India is on its way to post another record production in tea this calendar year.
“Tea Board has announced August production data, whichshows a six per cent increase in the country’s output over 2016 to total 167.98 mkg. North Indian output rose by five per cent to reach 148.16 mkg, while South Indian output increased by nine per cent to reach 19.82 mkg,” Rajesh Gupta, a compiler of the annual Global Tea Digest, told Business Line.
Consequently, the cumulative production in the eight months has increased by 33.45 mkg or five per cent. “Our compilation shows that the production in the eight months rose to 766.72 mkg from 733.27 mkg,” said Gupta.
This means that India is continuing the tradition of posting record production year after year. If this trend continues, the country will end up with a production of 1,300 mkg against 1,267 mkg produced in 2016, according to industry observers.
The bulk of the increase has happened in South India where the production till August rose by 12 per cent to reach 156.39 mkg. North Indian output increased by three per cent to reach 610.33 mkg. Good rainfall has been instrumental in pushing up harvest in tea plantations across the country.
Assam continues to top India’s production table and in the eight months, the State produced 382.54 mkg, up two per cent over January-August 2016.
Darjeeling was trailing behind last year with production falling to 2.07 mkg from 5.63 mkg.
Mumbai, Oct 12: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is on Sweden tour, today said the state will become a trillion dollar economy by 2030
Fadnavis, on a three-day visit to Sweden along with Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai, addressed a gathering in Stockholm, after releasing a 'Make in India' magazine
"Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji says that India will lead the world because of its demography, democracy and demand. Maharashtra leads in this advantage too," a release from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) quoted him as saying
"China was a factory for the world for the last 20 years, but after this decade it will be India," he said while exhorting Swedish firms to invest in Maharashtra
The CM further said Maharashtra will be a trillion dollar economy by 2030
Stating that Maharashtra leads in infrastructure projects and ports, Fadnavis said the proposed 'Samruddhi' corridor project between Mumbai and Nagpur will be the longest "smart road" in the nation
"Our state has a population of 10 per cent, but we contribute 15 per cent to the national GDP. Almost all global businesses have their footprints in Maharashtra, including over 100 Swedish companies," he said while appealing to Swedish companies to invest in the state
Stating that Maharashtra offers enormous opportunities and benefits, he pointed out that Mumbai is the financial capital of the nation, Pune is the IT capital and Nagpur is the logistics hub
Fadnavis met Alrik Danielson, President and CEO of SKF group, a leading bearing and seal manufacturing company, the statement said
"SKF group already has a manufacturing facility in Pune and its officials informed the CM on their expansion plans and that they would soon finalise the next phase for Maharashtra and also that they are keen to work closely with the state government," it said
The Chief Minister also met Atul Tandon, Director Strategy and Commercial Excellence, of AstraZeneca
The company appreciated Maharashtra's initiatives for screening of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, the statement said
"The global biopharmaceutical company agreed and assured the CM to work closely with the state and that they are keen to work for a pilot project in a civil hospital to improve healthcare facilities," it said
Fadnavis also met P r Stenmark, Chief Regulatory Officer, of IKEA and appealed to the company to join hands with the state for use and branding of bamboo/bamboo products to increase the income and employment of tribals and locals
"The state government has already set up a Bamboo Development Board and is also providing skilling support to the locals. The CM urged IKEA to start a skill centre for Bamboo," the statement said
IKEA also informed the CM that the work for Navi Mumbai IKEA store has already started and will be completed by 2019
The 'bhumipujan' (ground-breaking) of the store was performed by Fadnavis on May 18 this year
Fadnavis also met Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ms Ann Linde and discussed important bilateral issues, the statement said.
Washington: There is a great interest about India in the United States and among its investors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said, adding that the relationship between the two countries was a "mature" one.
"There is a great interest about India in the US and among its investors," Jaitley told reporters as he winded up his week-long visit to the US during which he had meetings with US treasury secretary and the commerce secretary, addressed students of the Columbia and Harvard Universities and interacted with investors and American corporate leaders in New York, Boston, and Washington DC."Both, those inside the government and the US companies, have shown great interest in investing in India now," he said.
Jaitley, who led a high-powered Indian delegation to the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, said that the US companies are investing in India in a big way.
"You have Indians investing in the US, you have US companies investing in India. And, in November, a large contingent of US corporates are coming to India to invest," he said.
According to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) figures, India was US' ninth-largest trading partner with the total two-way trade of USD 67.7 billion last year
It is loaded in favour of India, which runs a surplus of USD 24 billion.
Jaitley said the relationship between India and the US on the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was a "mature" one.
"..and expansion of key sectors like aviation and defence would play a key role in increasing the bilateral trade to USD 500 billion per annum," he said.
The finance minister said India was among the largest recipients of FDI since it had "one of the most open policies as far as investment is concerned."
"I'm quite sure that we will continue to get the benefit of that investment," he said.
"I think it's a strategic relationship which is bound to be further consolidated," he said.
During his week-long visit, the minister had more than a dozen meetings in addition to his bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank meetings.
The finance minister said that India's capacity to undertake structural reforms even in a globally adverse environment was being appreciated globally.
"This is a fact which almost the whole body of investors and also a large number of my counterparts in other parts of the world acknowledges," he said.
"If areas like defence, civil aviation, which are very high investment areas, if you see investment pouring into those areas, it is obviously going to have an impact," he said.