India’s economy grew at 7.9% in January-March, the fastest in six quarters, cementing its position as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, although plentiful rains this summer and a pick-up in private investment will be critical to sustain the momentum.
The latest data comes a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US where he will hard-sell India’s impressive growth record in the last two years in meetings with top US CEOs.
India also outpaced China’s 6.7% growth during the same period as the rival Asian titan struggles to claw out of a crippling deceleration.
The country’s “real” or inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) — a measure of the value of all goods and services produced in the country — grew at 7.2% during October to December from 7.6% in the previous three months.
“The contraction of GFCF by 1.9% in January to March is disappointing, highlighting the muted trend in private sector investments as well as some slowdown in the pace of growth of the government’s capital expenditure in the final quarter of the last fiscal,” Nayar said.
The farm sector, hit by two years of successive drought, appears to have rebounded, growing 2.3% in January to March from a 1% contraction in the previous quarter. The weather office sees “above normal” monsoon rains coming this year.
This year’s monsoon rains are critical for prospects of the broader economy, which is still smarting under the effects of two years of back-to-back drought.
Mining and electricity, also showed a strong pick rekindling hopes of a broader industrial revival.