Backsliding on reforms?

The repeal this month of controversial reforms aimed at liberalising the agriculture sector is arguably the biggest political setback that the Modi government has faced since coming to power in 2014. And while the direct economic impact of abandoning those reforms is limited, the bigger concern is the signal that it sends about the prospects for other contentious reforms that could make a substantial difference to economic growth over the long term. Ahead of a major election early next year in Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state with the largest representation in the Rajya Sabha – the ruling BJP is now highly likely to shelve reforms on the labour market that would face stiff popular opposition. A poor performance from the BJP in that election may derail the reform agenda for even longer.
Darren Aw Asia Economist
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India Economics Weekly

There is policy space to cushion any Omicron blow

Low vaccine coverage makes India's economy highly vulnerable to the emergence of the Omicron variant. The crumb of comfort is that there is policy space to soften some of the economic blow from a new outbreak. The fiscal position is healthier than usual for this time of year. Meanwhile, the RBI is likely to keep rates on hold in the MPC meeting next week and for a few more months beyond that.

3 December 2021

India Data Response

Manufacturing PMI (Nov.)

The jump in India’s manufacturing PMI in November suggests that the recovery is still ongoing, although it appears that global supply shortages have remained a drag. And with vaccination coverage in India still low, the threat of new virus outbreaks – either of the Omicron variant or potential successors – will continue to loom. Drop-In: India – How much scarring will the pandemic leave? 10:00 ET/15:00 GMT, Wednesday 1st December https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/3535749/63CC51718846E8FF3D871827AC84AF1E?partnerref=report Drop-In: Why is Asia sitting out the global inflation surge? 09:00 GMT/17:00 HKT, Thursday 2nd December https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/3546145/A9D34EF592141BEFCAC819ADB40359D5?partnerref=report

1 December 2021

RBI Watch

MPC to hold rates in face of Omicron uncertainty

Whereas many EM central banks have been hiking rates aggressively, the RBI has been taking only baby steps towards policy tightening over the past couple of months. And the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant only reinforces our view that it will continue to move very cautiously. In all, we think the MPC will announce further small measures to drain liquidity from the banking sector at the conclusion of its policy meeting on Wednesday 8th December as it continues to lay the groundwork for policy rate hikes from mid-2022.   Drop-In: India – How much scarring will the pandemic leave? 10:00 ET/15:00 GMT, Wednesday 1st December https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/3535749/63CC51718846E8FF3D871827AC84AF1E?partnerref=report Drop-In: Why is Asia sitting out the global inflation surge? 09:00 GMT/17:00 HKT, Thursday 2nd December https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/3546145/A9D34EF592141BEFCAC819ADB40359D5?partnerref=report

1 December 2021

More from Darren Aw

India Data Response

Wholesale Prices (Oct.)

The jump in headline wholesale price inflation in October was due almost entirely to higher commodity prices, but we think they are now close to peaking. While the RBI will be wary that wholesale prices remain elevated, there’s still scope to keep policy accommodative given the much lower rate of headline CPI inflation.

15 November 2021

India Data Response

Consumer Prices (Oct.) & Industrial Production (Sep.)

India’s consumer price inflation edged up in October but remained well below the 6% ceiling of the RBI’s inflation target range. And we expect it to stay there for several months yet, which underpins our view that policy tightening is still some way off.

12 November 2021

India Economics Weekly

Energy constraints easing, autos still struggling

Concerns about severe energy shortages in India have eased this week amid encouraging signs of a rebound in coal inventories. But the latest production figures from carmakers suggest that global semiconductor shortages have continued to weigh on the auto sector, reinforcing our view that the industrial recovery will prove lacklustre.

12 November 2021
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