The Indian economy “continues to forge ahead, emerging out of shackles of pandemic,” but the rise of the Omicron variant has emerged as the biggest risk factor, said the state of the economy report released with the December bulletin of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday.
The Indian economy bounced back strongly in the second quarter, as the gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed its pre-pandemic levels, and inflation broadly remained under the 6 per cent range, the upper band of the tolerance range of the RBI. The RBI’s medium-term target is to keep retail inflation at 4 per cent. In November, the retail inflation came at 4.91 per cent, but wholesale price index (WPI), which it no longer targets, came at a 12 year high of 14.23 per cent.
“A host of incoming high frequency indicators are looking upbeat and consumer confidence is gradually returning. Aggregate demand conditions point to sustained recovery, albeit, with some signs of sequential moderation,” the report said.
Farm sector is strong, while the “manufacturing and services record strong improvement on strengthening demand conditions and surge in new business,” the report said, adding high frequency indicators are also looking upbeat. The daily infections have tapered and the inoculation rate has gathered steam.
Consumer confidence is gradually returning, and the “overall outlook remains optimistic on the general economic situation, the employment scenario and household income.” RBI’s recent surveys show for the year ahead, consumers are buoyed by sentiments on income and employment.