India's economic growth seen languishing near 3-yr low

BANGALORE Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:55pm IST

BANGALORE (Reuters) - India's economy probably expanded near its slowest pace in three years in the quarter to September, according to a Reuters poll, suggesting little signs of an early turnaround, despite reform steps taken by the government to lure back investors.

Gross domestic product rose 5.4 percent year-on-year in the July-September period, slightly lower than the 5.5 percent increase in the previous quarter, and only just above the three-year low of 5.3 percent in the quarter to end-March, the median consensus of 39 consensus showed.

Forecasts ranged from 5.0 percent to 6.2 percent.

Asia's third-largest economy is growing faster than many other countries, but the pace is way below the 9 percent growth that the government has targeted to provide jobs for a booming young population.

Data on factory activity showed slowing global demand hurt exports and falling investments weighed on the manufacturing sector, which has been the biggest drag on overall growth in the quarter to September.

"There have been no signs of an upturn in India," said Andrew Kenningham, chief economist at Capital Economics.

"Available data on industrial production and the PMIs point to little change in growth, while exports have been even weaker in the quarter to September. Overall, therefore, a small further decline in growth rate is most likely."

The government has launched a slew of initiatives to boost growth, including raising subsidized diesel prices and opening sectors like supermarkets to foreign players.

However, it has since struggled to enforce the reforms and failed to break a deadlock in parliament over opening up the retail sector.

"The relaxation of restrictions on inward investment will have no impact this year, and probably minimal impact in 2013," said Kenningham.

The central bank has so far rebuffed calls for interest rate cuts, saying prices are still rising too fast to risk loosening policy much, and it also wants the government to bring down a worryingly high fiscal deficit.

The next monetary policy review is due in December.

(Polling and analysis by Shaloo Srivastava; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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