- GDP growth for the January-March period came in at 6.1%
- The expansion was much slower than 7.1% expected by economists
- Construction activity contracted 3.7% in March quarter
Economic growth unexpectedly slowed to its lowest in more than two years, dragged down by construction, manufacturing and trade services, and stripping India of its status as the world's fastest growing major economy. Annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the January-March period came in at 6.1 percent, compared with a provisional 7.0 per cent in the previous quarter, government data showed on Wednesday. The expansion was much slower than the 7.1 per cent forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. It was also lower than China's growth of 6.9 percent for the first three months of 2017.
For the 2016- 17 fiscal year ending in March, the government reported GDP growth of 7.1 per cent, slower than an 8.0 per cent expansion a year ago. "This data is closer to the ground reality than the previous ones," said Anjali Verma, an economist at PhillipCapital in Mumbai.
The figure is the lowest since the December quarter in 2014, which registered 6.0 per cent growth, according to Reuters data.
The weak GDP data will be a setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who completed three years in office last week. Wednesday's figures, however, have not changed expectations for monetary policy. Analysts still expect the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to keep interest rates on hold.
Construction activity contracted 3.7 per cent year-on-year in the March quarter compared with a 3.4 per cent growth in the prior quarter. Manufacturing grew 5.3 per cent in the last quarter from a year ago, slower than an annual rise of 8.2 per cent in the December quarter.
Annual growth in trade, hotels and transport services slowed to 6.5 per cent in the January-March period from 8.3 per cent a quarter ago.