Trying to soothe the nerves of jittery investors, Finance Ministry on Thursday said the Indian economy is doing well and the performance of domestic stock markets is not as bad as that of other nations.
Attributing the plunge in the stock markets to global factors, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said that government was prepared to deal with the challenges and stressed that 7.6 percent GDP growth projected by the CSO for the current fiscal was “noteworthy and very significant”.
“Over the last few days the NSE and BSE have experienced a lot of volatility. The decline in our markets is comparable to rest of the world… India is not an exception, but it is better off than many other markets,” he said.
His comments failed however to calm the stock markets which posted huge losses during the course of the day.
The benchmark BSE Sensex plunged over 807 points on sustained selling by funds and retail investors amid weak Asian cues. The 30-share index closed 3.40 percent down at 22,951.83 points. Similar losses were witnessed in the NSE Nifty.
Das on his part assured the investors that “government is keeping a very close watch on international and global development and government is prepared to deal with all these challenges”.
He further said that government would revise the interest rates for small savings schemes in a day or two to align them with the market rates. The interest rates on girl child and senior citizen schemes, however, will not be revised.
The interest rates on small savings schemes will now be revised every quarter instead of annually, he added.
Das said that since January, Nifty and BSE have witnessed about 10 percent decline (since February 10, 2016) “but if you compare with other markets — Japan lost 21 percent, S&P 500 of US 10.35 percent, Hong Kong 14 percent, Singapore 12 percent, UK 10 percent and Shanghai 28 percent.”
He added that amid the global turmoil, 7.6 percent growth rate for the current fiscal was not bad although the agriculture sector would continue to remain a challenge.
“Given this kind of volatility and turmoil prevailing all over the world in the global economy, the growth forecast for the current year at 7.6 percent is definitely noteworthy and very significant,” he added.
The growth projection, he said, was reflective of the fact that “India is able to hold on to growth, which one can call robust under the current circumstances”.
As regards the turmoil in currency markets, he said the decline in rupee via-a-vis dollar is not something peculiar to India as many other currencies have witnessed similar movements.
“World over currencies are affected. All currencies are facing depreciation. Rupee direction is not exceptional and we are quite better off than other currencies,” Das said, adding that investors are pulling out and moving to US which is putting pressure on foreign exchange market.
So far this fiscal, the rupee has depreciated 6.5 percent against the US dollar, which is less than other global currencies. Between April-February, euro has declined 14 percent against the dollar, while yen has fallen 10 percent. The UK pound has lost 7 percent against the dollar.
Das said the rupee in respect of other currencies like euro and yen has appreciated 9 percent and 4 percent respectively.