Goldman Sachs cuts India’s CAD forecast for current fiscal to 1% of GDP

Mumbai (IANS) Goldman Sachs has lowered its projection for India’s current account deficit in 2023-2024 to 1 per cent of GDP from 1.3 per cent earlier as the US bank expects services exports to rise further while crude oil prices are expected to fall going ahead.

The Wall Street bank expects oil prices to rule at $81 a barrel in 2024 instead of the above $90 forecast earlier and services exports to remain strong due to US growth remaining resilient.

“India’s external balances remain favourable with a combination of low current account deficit, strong capital flows, adequate foreign exchange reserves and low external debt. Combined with this, expectations for a weaker dollar due to the likely five US Fed rate cuts this year suggest a ‘goldilocks’ environment for the country’s external balances,” according to the report.

Goldman Sachs has also reduced its projection for India’s CAD for 2024-25 to 1.3 per cent from 1.9 per cent earlier.

The global investment bank expects robust capital flows in 2024, driven by strong equity portfolio flows as the US Fed starts easing interest rates. FDI flows are also expected to increase as the country is emerging as an investment destination as global majors seek to diversify their supply chain outside China.

Goldman Sachs has projected an overall balance of payment surplus of $39 billion in FY24 but this is expected to decline to $27 billion in 2024-25.

The country’s oil imports fell to $164 billion in the January-November 2023 period from $189 billion in the same period last year as oil prices fell 18 per cent.

Similarly, services trade surplus is tracking higher as exports have surprised to the upside, driven by both business and software services.

India’s current account deficit narrowed in the July-September quarter of the current financial year due to a lower merchandise trade deficit and an increase in services exports, according to the latest RBI figures.

The current account deficit (CAD) stood at $8.3 billion or 1 per cent of GDP, in the second quarter of 2023-24 compared with $9.2 billion or 1.1 per cent of GDP in the preceding quarter.

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