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4th March 2024 (14 Topics)

Facts and Statistics

Context

The National Statistical Office (NSO) released the latest national income data, revealing significant differences between official estimates and economists' projections. While the markets reacted positively to the robust GDP growth estimates, some economists have raised concerns about the discrepancies.

Official GDP Growth Estimates

  • Robust GDP Growth Estimate: NSO's estimate shows a strong 8.4% year-on-year growth in real GDP for the October-December quarter, surpassing economists' projections.
  • Revised Growth Figures: The release also revises GDP growth figures for the first and second quarters of the current fiscal, indicating faster growth rates than previously estimated.
  • Full-Year Forecast: NSO forecasts a full-year real GDP growth of 7.6%, which is higher than earlier estimates, attributing it to revisions in data for previous fiscal years.

Factors Behind Upgraded Estimates

  • Revisions to Previous Data: NSO's revisions to data for 2021-22 and 2022-23 have led to adjustments in GDP growth figures, with significant changes observed in both years.
  • Impact of Base Effect: Revisions to previous years' data affect year-on-year growth rates, emphasizing the importance of considering the base effect while interpreting GDP growth numbers.
  • Real Sector Performance: Despite the positive GDP growth estimates, third-quarter gross value added (GVA) growth slowed in key sectors, reflecting challenges in the real productive sectors of the economy.

Challenges and Implications

  • GVA Growth Rate vs. GDP Growth: GVA growth rate, which presents a truer picture of the economy's health, lags behind GDP growth primarily due to significant surge in net indirect taxes in the last quarter.
  • Weakness in Consumption Spending: Data on private and government consumption spending in the third quarter indicate lack of traction, with private spending growing marginally and government spending contracting.
  • Election Context: With the upcoming general election, the NSO data serves as a significant talking point, but there is a need for a sober analysis of the real state of the economy.

 

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