Rising crude oil prices and deficient monsoon are evolving risks to the economy, a finance ministry report has said.
While the oil prices are hovering around $94 per barrel, deficient rainfall has resulted in less acreage sowing of pulses and reservoir levels are low, which would impact the next Rabi crop too.
Flagging certain risks like steadily climbing crude oil prices in the global market, the impact of monsoon deficit in August on Kharif and Rabi crops, the review said, “that needs to be assessed.” At the same time, it observed, the rains in September have erased a portion of the rainfall deficit at the end of August.
Furthermore, the review said, a stock market correction, in the wake of an overdue global stock market correction, is an ever present risk, and offsetting these risks are the bright spots of corporate profitability, private sector capital formation, bank credit growth and activity in the construction sector.
“In sum, we remain comfortable with our 6.5 per cent real GDP growth estimate for FY24 with symmetric risks,” it said.
The ministry’s August edition of monthly economic review said the 7.8 per cent growth recorded in the first quarter (April-June) was on account of strong domestic demand, consumption and investment. The growth was also witnessed in various high-frequency indicators.
The price of crude oil — India imports more than 80 per cent of all the oil it needs — has gone up from nearly $71 a barrel in mid-June to over $93 a barrel. The cost of the Indian crude oil basket had risen to over $93.55 a barrel on September 21.
The area under paddy has gone up 3 per cent so far in the ongoing kharif sowing season to 411.52 lakh hectares, while pulses acreage declined 5 per cent, according to the agriculture ministry data. Paddy acreage stood at 400.72 lakh hectares (LH) in the same period last year. Accirding to the data released on Friday, the area under pulses declined 5 per cent to 122.57 LH from 128.49 LH in the year-ago period.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) latest report said: “The overall storage position is less than the corresponding period of last year in the country as a whole and also less than the average storage of last 10 years during the corresponding period.”
Sonal Varma of Nomura said: “The winter (or rabi) crop, which includes wheat, is heavily reliant on irrigation; around 95 per cent of wheat area is irrigated. Less water available for irrigation could increase the heat sensitivity of the wheat crop and lower yields. Rain in the wheat sowing months is crucial.”