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Low oil prices help slowing India

Asian Development Bank lowers growth forecast for India's economy.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Asian Development Bank lowers its forecast for growth in Indian economy, but recovery in part depends in crude oil price trajectory. File photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI
Asian Development Bank lowers its forecast for growth in Indian economy, but recovery in part depends in crude oil price trajectory. File photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI | License Photo

MANILA, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The low price of crude oil is a silver lining in an otherwise downbeat forecast for growth in the Indian economy, the Asian Development Bank said.

The ADB said the slowdown in industrial economies is in part behind a lowered forecast for growth in the Indian economy. Gross domestic product for the current fiscal year, which ends March 2016, is expected at 7.4 percent, down from the bank's estimate in March of 7.8 percent. For fiscal year 2016, growth is forecast at 7.8 percent, down from the earlier GDP growth forecast of 8.2 percent.

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ADB Chief Economist Shang-Jin Wei said slow global economic growth and a general lack of investor confidence are dragging on India's growth.

"On the upside, inflation is trending down, crude oil import prices have fallen sharply, and tax revenue and net foreign direct investment inflows are up, which augurs well for a bounce back in the economy," he said in a statement.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its latest market report a persistent weakness in exports and lackluster domestic demand was inhibiting growth. The Reserve Bank of India, OPEC said, should consider some form of monetary stimulus.

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India exports contracted in July by 10.3 percent year-on-year to $23.4 billion, pushing India's trade deficit to $11.7 billion. OPEC said India's demand for oil, however, remained strong.

"In fiscal year 2016, a recovery in oil prices and improved industry and investment demand should see both imports and exports pick up, with the current account deficit seen increasing slightly to 1.5 percent of GDP," the ADB said in its profile for India.

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