The HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) marginally increased from 51.0 in September 2014 to 51.6 in October 2014. It indicated a moderate improvement in business conditions. On the other hand, HSBC India Composite Output Index decreased from 51.8 in September 2014 to 51.0 in October 2014.
India's fiscal deficit during the 2013-14 was recorded at 4.5 percent of GDP. In the Union Budget 2014-15, the Government has targeted to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.1 per cent of GDP for FY 2014-15. India's fiscal deficit, during April-September, has touched 83 per cent of the full-year target. However, due to a fall in global oil prices and a number of austerity measures taken by the government, the target seems achievable. The government aims to raise about USD 9.5 billion from the sale of shares in state-run companies and minority stakes in private companies during the fiscal year.
Index of Industrial Production
India’s General Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth has picked up in September 2014 to 2.5 per cent from less than half-a-per cent in August due to high growth in capital Goods. During the April-September period of 2014-15, IIP grew at 2.8 per cent, as against flat production in same period in the previous fiscal. According to the IIP data, manufacturing - which constitutes over 75 per cent of the index - expanded by 2.5 per cent in September. For April-September, the sector grew at 2.0 per cent.
India's Wholesale Price Inflation (WPI) eased to a five-year low in October, mainly on account of moderation in food and fuel prices. The wholesale price index (WPI) rose by an annual rate of 1.77 per cent in October 2014, its slowest pace since October 2009. In August, wholesale prices rose 2.38 percent. Inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of October eased to its all-time low of 5.52 percent, the lowest since India started computing consumer price index (CPI) in January 2012, triggered by lower food prices and fuel costs. The Reserve Bank of India has kept the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8.0 per cent.
Chart 9: Inflation as measured by WPI and CPI (in per cent)
Source: CSO, RBI, Office of Economic Advisor
Trade – Exports and Imports
India's exports fell by 5.04 per cent during October 2014 to USD 26.09 billion from 28.90 billion in September 2014. Imports fell to USD 39.45 billion from 43.15 billion in October 2014. Oil and gold are the key contributors to India's import bill. Oil imports fell to USD 12.36 billion as against USD 14.50 billion, on a month-on-month (M-O-M) basis. Non-oil imports stood at USD 27.08 billion as against USD 28.65 billion in the previous month. Gold imports surged to USD 4.18 billion from USD 3.75 billion in the previous month. On a year-on-year basis, gold imports jumped to USD 4.17 billion from USD 1.09 billion. On an annual basis, trade deficit has surged 26.1 percent to USD 13.36 billion.
India's Current Account Deficit narrowed sharply to USD 7.8 billion (1.7 per cent of GDP) in the first quarter of the 2014-15, from USD 21.8 billion (4.8 per cent of GDP) in the year-ago period. However, it was higher than USD 1.2 billion (0.2 per cent of GDP) in the fourth (January-March) quarter of the previous fiscal, 2013-14. As per Citigroup's estimates, "India’s current account deficit (CAD) for 2014-15 is expected to be USD 36.7 billion, or 1.8 per cent of GDP, despite a fall in exports and rise in imports."
Rupee appreciated against dollar in the month of October 2014 and hovered in the range between 61-61.5 per USD. The rupee also appreciated against Pound (GBP), Euro as well as Japanese Yen in the month of October 2014. Since January 2014, Forex reserves have increased considerably by about USD 34 billion. The reserves were recorded at USD 315 billion as on October 31, 2014. (Exhibit 3).
Turnover of the commodity exchanges fell by 52 per cent to Rs.34.52 lakh crore during April-October 2014 due to sluggish volumes in almost all commodities. The turnover at the commodity exchanges stood at Rs. 71.60 lakh crore during the same period in 2013. The business fell in almost all commodities agriculture, bullion, metals and energy on the exchanges platform. The turnover from bullion fell 62 per cent to Rs.12.13 lakh crore during April-October 2014, against Rs.32.17 lakh crore in the same period a year ago. Similarly, the business energy items such as crude oil declined by 53 per cent to Rs.8.16 lakh crore from Rs.17.48 lakh crore, while the turnover from metals dropped by 43 per cent to Rs.7.51 lakh crore from Rs.13.11 lakh crore during the review period.
Exhibit 4: Commodity market trading during April-October 2014