At 4.2%, GDP Growth In 2019-20 Sinks To 11-Year Low: 10 Things To know

The official rate of GDP expansion comes days after the country entered a third month of lockdown with few exceptions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The GDP data reflected partial impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on manufacturing and services

Highlights

  • 2019-20 GDP growth at 4.2%, worst pace in 11 years
  • Manufacturing output shrinks 1.4% in March quarter
  • April-June figure to give clearer picture of COVID-19 impact: economists
India's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.1 per cent in January-March, official data showed on Friday, reflecting the partial impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the manufacturing and services sectors. That was much better than economists' estimates, but still lower than 4.1 per cent in the previous quarter. The annual expansion in the GDP stood at 4.2 per cent in fiscal year 2019-20 - the lowest pace of growth in 11 years, as against a previously projected 5 per cent. The official rate of GDP expansion comes days after the country entered a third month of lockdown with few exceptions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hampered an already-slowing economy and forced many businesses to trim their operations leading to thousands of job losses.

Here are 10 things to know about the GDP data released today:

  1. The median forecast from a poll of economists by news agency Reuters had pegged GDP growth at 2.1 per cent in the final quarter of fiscal year 2019-20, with forecasts ranging between +4.5 per cent and -1.5 per cent.

  2. With data for the latest quarter, GDP growth for the full financial year - which ended on March 31 - came in at 4.2 per cent. In fiscal year 2018-19, the country's GDP had expanded 6.1 per cent. (What Economists Say)

  3. The GDP growth rates for the previous quarters were revised downwards. The GDP expansion rate for the quarter ended December 31, 2019 was brought down to 4.1 per cent from 4.7 per cent. Similarly, the growth rates for the July-September and April-June quarters were revised to 4.4 per cent (from 5.1 per cent) and 5.2 per cent (from 5.6 per cent) respectively.

  4. In an official release, the National Statistical Office (NSO) said the coronavirus-induced lockdown impacted the GDP data flow from economic entities. "Some of these units are yet to resume operations and owing to the fact that the statutory time-lines for submitting the requisite financial returns have been extended by the government, these estimates are based on the available data," the statistics office said.

  5. Contraction in manufacturing sector output worsened to 1.4 per cent in the January-March period, from 0.8 per cent in the previous quarter. 

  6. Growth in agricultural production, however, improved to 5.9 per cent in Q4, compared to 3.6 per cent in the October-December period, the data showed.

  7. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman detailed monetary and fiscal stimulus worth Rs 21 lakh crore to shield the country from the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. (Also Read: Why Rs 21 Lakh Crore Package May Not Give Immediate Boost)

  8. Many economists have already lowered their projections for the current financial year, with some even warning about the possibility of a recession due to the COVID-19 disease-induced lockdown. The government has maintained the lockdown ordered in late March though many restrictions were eased for manufacturing, transport and other services from May 18.

  9. Some say the April-June numbers will give a clearer picture of the damage caused by the coronavirus to the economy, as the lockdown's full impact on manufacturing and services will become more apparent. 

  10. US-based Goldman Sachs Group sees India's economy shrinking by a record 45 per cent on an annualised basis in the quarter to the end of June, and by 5 per cent in fiscal year 2020-21, showing the economy contracting far more than previously expected.