S&P raises India's credit outlook to 'stable' from 'negative' on eve of Modi's US visit

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 S&P raises India's credit outlook to 'stable' from 'negative' on eve of Modi's
New Delhi: In a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his arrival in the US, S&P on Friday raised India's credit rating outlook to stable on the back of strong political mandate helping fiscal and economic reforms.

Standard & Poor's, after a gap of two years, has improved India's sovereign credit rating outlook from negative to stable indicating the possibility of a rating upgrade.

"Our outlook revision indicates that we believe the current government's strong mandate will enable it to implement many of its administrative, fiscal, and economic reforms," S&P said in a statement.

The revision in outlook comes ahead of Modi's high profile visit to the US, which among things is aimed at procuring investments. Modi is scheduled to meet top US corporates.

The outlook revision gave a boost to the stock markets with the BSE Sensex shooting up by 158 points to 26,626.32.

The present government, S&P said "will remedy, to varying degrees, the growth impediments--policy paralysis, energy supply bottlenecks, and administrative obstacles. The government's actions will likely add momentum to the incipient cyclical upswing evident in the economy".

Commenting on the action, Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram said the Indian economy can grow by more than 5.5 per cent in the current fiscal year.

"We are satisfied that the credit rating agency has acknowledged the steps that government has taken to improve the economy and specially bring the investment climate back and therefore the growth cycle back," he added.

S&P said it could raise the rating if the economy reverts to a GDP trend growth of 5.5 percent and there are improvements in fiscal, external or inflation metrics.

The agency currently has a 'BBB-/A-3' rating on India.

SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said S&P's action is a reflection of India's sound external position, supported by robust capital inflows and a benign CAD.

S&P had earlier in April 2012 lowered India's rating outlook to negative in view of inability of the government under the previous UPA government to take up reform measures and declining investor confidence.

Pursuant to landslide victory of BJP-led NDA in May 2014, there has been an upsurge in investor confidence with stock markets rallying 19 per cent and increase in foreign investment. Also growth picked up to a nine-quarter high of 5.7 per cent in April-June period.

S&P said the stable outlook for the next 24 months reflects the agency's view that the new government has both the willingness and capacity to implement reforms necessary to restore some of India's lost growth potential, consolidate its fiscal accounts, and permit the RBI to carry out effective monetary policy.

S&P, however, cautioned that it could lower the rating in case the government's structural reform agenda stalls such that economic growth does not accelerate, or fiscal and debt ratios fail to improve.

PTI

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