UN revises India’s 2024 economic growth projection upwards to nearly 7%

08:49 AM May 17, 2024 | PTI |

The United Nations has revised upwards India’s growth projections for 2024, with the country’s economy now forecast to expand by close to seven per cent this year, mainly driven by strong public investment and resilient private consumption.


The World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2024, released Thursday, said, India’s economy is forecast to expand by 6.9 per cent in 2024 and 6.6 per cent in 2025, mainly driven by strong public investment and resilient private consumption. Although subdued external demand will continue to weigh on merchandise export growth, pharmaceuticals and chemicals exports are expected to expand strongly.

The 6.9 per cent economic growth projections for India in the mid-year update is an upward revision from the 6.2 per cent GDP forecast made by the UN in January this year. The UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2024 report that was launched in January had said that growth in India was projected to reach 6.2 per cent in 2024, amid robust domestic demand and strong growth in the manufacturing and services sectors. The projection in January for India’s GDP growth for 2025 remains unchanged at 6.6 per cent in the latest assessment of the economic situation.

The update said that consumer price inflation in India is projected to decelerate from 5.6 per cent in 2023 to 4.5 per cent in 2024, staying within the central bank’s two to six per cent medium-term target range. Similarly, inflation rates in other South Asian countries declined in 2023 and are expected to decelerate further in 2024, ranging from 2.2 per cent in the Maldives to 33.6 per cent in Iran. Despite some moderation, food prices remained elevated in the first quarter of 2024, especially in Bangladesh and India.

In India, labour market indicators have also improved amid robust growth and higher labour force participation, it said. India’s government remains committed to gradually reduce the fiscal deficit, while seeking to increase capital investment.


South Asia’s economic outlook is expected to remain strong, supported by a robust performance of India’s economy and a slight recovery in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Regional GDP is projected to grow by 5.8 per cent in 2024 (an upward revision of 0.6 percentage points since January) and 5.7 per cent in 2025, below the 6.2 per cent recorded in 2023. However, still tight financial conditions and fiscal and external imbalances will continue to weigh on South Asia’s growth performance. In addition, potential increases in energy prices amid geopolitical tensions and the ongoing disruption in the Red Sea pose a risk to the regional economic outlook, it said.

The world economy is now forecast to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2024 (an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the forecast in January) and 2.8 per cent in 2025 (an increase of 0.1 percentage points).

The upward revisions mainly reflect a better outlook in the United States, where the latest forecast points to 2.3 per cent growth in 2024 (an upward revision of 0.9 percentage points since January), and several large emerging economies, notably Brazil, India and Russia.

It noted that several large developing economies Indonesia, India and Mexico are benefiting from strong domestic and external demand. In comparison, many economies in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean are on a low-growth trajectory, facing high inflation, elevated borrowing costs, persistent exchange rate pressures and lingering political instability. The possible intensification and spreading of conflicts in Gaza and the Red Sea add further uncertainties to the near-term outlook for the Middle East, the mid-year update said.

Global trade is expected to recover in 2024. The early boost to trade flows in the first months of the year can be attributed to destocking of the inventory that piled up amid supply-chain disruptions in 2021-22. China’s foreign trade grew faster than expected in the first two months in 2024, driven largely by exports to emerging markets, particularly to Brazil, India and Russia, it said.

However, persistent geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and disruptions in the Red Sea, and escalating cost of freight continue to pose challenges to global trade, it added.

The mid-year update said global economic prospects have improved since January, with major economies avoiding a severe downturn, bringing down inflation without increasing unemployment. However, the outlook is only cautiously optimistic. Higher-for-longer interest rates, debt sustainability challenges, continuing geopolitical tensions and ever-worsening climate risks continue to pose challenges to growth, threatening decades of development gains, especially for least developed countries and small island developing states.

The outlook for China registers a small uptick with growth now expected to be 4.8 per cent in 2024, from 4.7 per cent projected in January. China’s growth is projected to moderate to 4.8 per cent in 2024, from 5.2 per cent in 2023. Pent-up consumer demand released after the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions has largely dissipated. While enhanced policy support is expected to boost investments in public infrastructure and strategic sectors, the property sector poses a significant downside risk to the Chinese economy, it said.


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