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19 November 2017, 02:27 | Gordon Grant
Moody's also expected the real GDP growth to moderate to 6.7% in the fiscal year ending in March 2018. Reuters F
The rating agency simultaneously upgraded India's local and foreign currency issuer rating to Baa2 from Baa3. The upgrading by the influential American credit rating agency comes after almost 13 years, during which time India has attracted cumulative foreign direct investment flows of about $ 250 billion and net portfolio investments of over $ 225 billion into its stock and debt markets. This is the first time in 13 years that the worldwide rating agency has raised India's assessment - to Baa2 from Baa3 - indicating that the economy has moved from "stable" to "positive", and is on a high growth trajectory.
United States credit rating agency Moody's on Friday upgraded India's sovereign rating to Baa2 from its lowest investment grade of Baa3 after 13 years.
The rating upgrade comes after a gap of 13 years. "The reform program will thus complement the existing shock-absorbance capacity provided by India's strong growth potential and improving global competitiveness".
"On the fiscal front, efforts to improve transparency and accountability, including through adoption of a new Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, are expected to enhance India's fiscal policy framework and strengthen policy credibility", it said. Moody's had in January 2004 revised the rating on India to Baa3 from Ba1.
However, challenges with implementation of GST, ongoing weakness of private sector investment, slow progress with resolution of banking sector asset quality issues and lack of progress with land and labour reforms at the national level remain, it said.
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Moody's specifically mentioned GST and demonetization while applauding the various reforms undertaken by the government. "It clearly shows that the economy is turning the corner and poised for a big leap forward, highlighting the huge potential that India offers as a global investment destination".
In a statement, it further said: "While India's high debt burden remains a constraint on the country's credit profile, Moody's believes that the reforms put in place have reduced the risk of a sharp increase in debt, even in potential downside scenarios". However, debt traders said the rally was unlikely to last beyond a few days, as the coming heavy bond supply and hawkish inflation outlook were unlikely to change soon.
Moody's pegged GDP growth at 6.7 per cent in FY18 and 7.5 per cent in FY19, with similarly robust levels of growth from FY20.
"Longer term, India's growth potential is significantly higher than most other Baa-rated sovereigns", the agency said.
Upgradation of India's credit rating by Moody's is a big news, because it has been done after 14 years, and done at a time when business analysts and observers are severely questioning PM Modi's decisions to implement GST and ban 80% of currencies overnight.
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