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BW Businessworld

HSBC Doubts Accuracy Of GDP, To Focus On GVA

According to global financial services major, higher private consumption and government spending is likely to be “dulled” by weak investment and exports growth over the quarter

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India’s economic growth is likely to remain “soft” and the GDP is expected to grow by 6 per cent in April-June, down from 6.1 per cent in the preceding quarter, says an HSBC report.

According to global financial services major, higher private consumption and government spending is likely to be “dulled” by weak investment and exports growth over the quarter.

“Repercussions of an early budget and the newly implemented Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates, receipts and rebates are likely to distort upcoming GDP readings,” it said.

The report said the Gross Value Added (GVA) may be a more reliable measure of economic activity over the next few quarters amidst policy changes like the demonetisation episode (November 8, 2016) followed by GST implementation (July 1, 2017). “Sandwiched between demonetisation, GST and other smaller policy changes, we recommend relying more on GVA as a measure of economic growth rather than GDP,” it said.

“We expect GVA growth for the first quarter of this fiscal to come in at an improved but still soft 6.2 per cent, and GDP a tad lower at 6 per cent,” HSBC said in a research note.

The report said the Union Budget was released on February 1, about a month in advance compared to previous years. This allowed for faster approvals and front loading of certain expenditure, particularly subsidies.

Besides, until the new system settles down, the GST tax regime could lead to uncertainties in tax collections, it added.

“We expect first quarter GVA growth to recover to 6.2 per cent y-o-y, from 5.6 per cent in the demonetisation hit in the previous quarter,” it said adding despite the improvement, growth is likely to remain soft. In fact growth has been falling singularly since mid-2016.

Explaining the lower GDP growth as against the GVA growth, it said a large subsidy outgo will likely depress the net indirect taxes (NIT) growth which will result in slower GDP.

Stating that GDP contains more information than the GVA, HSBC elaborated that it is GVA plus the net of indirect taxes (which is indirect taxes minus subsidies).
Still, GVA is the preferred number to gauge the economic momentum because NIT is likely to be fraught with data issues, it said.

On the production side, agriculture and trade services are likely to be strong and manufacturing is likely to improve in line with IIP data. However, financial services are expected to remain depressed, it added.

(PTI)