Washington :The US Treasury added India to its watch list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies, joining China and four others, according to a report issued. Treasury said the “monitoring list” includes those “major trading partners that merit close attention to their currency practices.”
In addition to India, the semi-annual report to Congress names five countries that continue on the list from October: China, Germany, Japan, Korea and Switzerland. Countries remain on the list for two report cycles “to help ensure that any improvement in performance versus the criteria is durable and is not due to temporary factors.”
While no major trading partner was found to be manipulating its currency, five of those on the list meet two of the three criteria, while China is included because “it constitutes a disproportionate share of the overall US trade deficit.” The US has a deficit of $337 billion with China of a total global trade deficit of $566 billion, according to government data.
“We will continue to monitor and combat unfair currency practices, while encouraging policies and reforms to address large trade imbalances,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. The Treasury report is required by Congress to identify countries that are trying to artificially manage the value of their currency to gain a trade advantage, for example by keeping the exchange rate low to promote cheaper exports.
The report said India, which has a $23 billion trade surplus with the United States, “increased its purchases of foreign exchange over the first three quarters of 2017,” although the rupee still rose in value. And while China — which is at the center of a brewing trade dispute with Washington — remained on the watch list, Treasury said “the Chinese currency generally moved against the dollar in a direction that should” help reduce China`s trade surplus with the United States.
Germany also remained on the watch list, even though it is part of the European currency union, which means it cannot independently control the exchange rate for the euro. Even so, the report notes that Germany “has the world`s largest current account surplus” and has made “little to no progress in reducing this massive surplus the past three years.”
Treasury called for all the countries on the list to implement economic reforms to address their surpluses.
India one of world’s fastest growing large economies:IMF
Washington: India has been one of the fastest growing large economies in the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said, asserting that the country has carried out several key reforms in the last five years, but more needs to be done.
Responding to a question on India’s economic development in the last five years at a fortnightly news conference here, IMF communications director Gerry Rice Thursday said, “India has of course been one of the world’s fastest growing large economies of late, with growth averaging about seven per cent over the past five years.”
“Important reforms have been implemented and we feel more reforms are needed to sustain this high growth, including to harness the demographic dividend opportunity, which India has,” he said.
Details about the Indian economy would be revealed in the upcoming World Economic Outlook (WEO) survey report to be released by the IMF ahead of the annual spring meeting with the World Bank next month, he said.
This report would be the first under Indian American economist Gita Gopinath, who is now IMF’s chief economist.
“The WEO will go into more details. But amongst the policy priorities, we would include accelerate the cleanup of banks and corporate balance sheets, continue fiscal consolidation, both at centre and state levels, and broadly maintain the reform momentum in terms of structural reforms in factor markets, labour, land reforms and further enhancing the business climate to achieve faster and more inclusive growth,” Rice said.
Fitch cuts India GDP growth forecast for FY20 to 6.8 pc
New Delhi: Fitch Ratings on Friday cut India’s economic growth forecast for the next financial year starting April 1, to 6.8 per cent from its previous estimate of 7 per cent, on weaker than expected momentum in the economy.
“While we have cut our growth forecasts for the next fiscal year (FY20, ending in March 2020) on weaker-than-expected momentum, we still see Indian GDP growth to hold up reasonably well, at 6.8 per cent, followed by 7.1 per cent in FY21,” Fitch said in its Global Economic Outlook. Fitch Ratings cut India’s FY19 GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent from 7.8 per cent on December 6.
The rating agency has also cut growth forecasts for FY20 and FY21 to 7 per cent from 7.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent from 7.3 per cent, respectively. According to Fitch, the RBI has adopted a more dovish monetary policy stance and cut interest rates by 0.25 percentage at its February 2019 meeting, a move supported by steadily decelerating headline inflation.
“We have changed our rate outlook and we now expect another 25 bp cut in 2019, amid protracted below target inflation and easier global monetary conditions than previously envisaged,” it said. “On the fiscal side, the budget for FY20 plans to increase cash transfers for farmers,” it added. Fitch said, it’s benign oil price outlook and expectations of accelerating food prices in the coming months should support rural households’ income and consumption.
India’s total wireless subscribers grew to 1.18 bn in January 2019: TRAI
New Delhi: India’s total wireless subscribers grew by 0.51 percent to 1,181.97 million (1.18 bn) in January 2019, as per a report by telecom regularor TRAI.
Total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA & LTE) increased from 1,176.00 million at the end of December 2018 to 1,181.97 million at the end of January 2019, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.51 percent, the TRAI report said.
As on January 31, 2019, the private access service providers held 89.95 percent market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, had a market share of only 10.05%, the regulator said in its report.
The Wireless subscription in urban areas increased from 647.52 million at the end of December 2018 to 654.20 million at the end of January 2019, however wireless subscriptions in rural areas declined from 528.48 million to 527.77 million during the month.
The monthly growth rates of urban wireless subscription was1.03 percent and rural wireless subscription was 0.13%, the report said
The Wireless Tele-density in India increased from 89.78 at the end of December 2018 to 90.15 at the end of January 2019.
The Urban Wireless Tele-density increased from 155.48 at the end of December 2018 to 156.85 at the end of January 2019, however Rural Wireless Tele-density declined from 59.15 to 59.04 during the same period.
The share of urban and rural wireless subscribers in total number of wireless subscribers was 55.35 percent and 44.65 percent respectively at the end of January 2019.