Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook on India's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to Negative from Stable and affirmed the rating at 'BBB-'.
The revision of the Outlook to Negative on India's Long-Term IDRs reflects the following key rating drivers, according to Fitch:
"The coronavirus pandemic has significantly weakened India's growth outlook for this year and exposed the challenges associated with a high public-debt burden. Fitch expects economic activity to contract by 5% in the fiscal year ending March 2021 (FY21) from the strict lockdown measures imposed since 25 March 2020, before rebounding by 9.5% in FY22. The rebound will mainly be driven by a low-base effect. Our forecasts are subject to considerable risks due to the continued acceleration in the number of new COVID-19 cases as the lockdown is eased gradually. It remains to be seen whether India can return to sustained growth rates of 6% to 7% as we previously estimated, depending on the lasting impact of the pandemic, particularly in the financial sector," the rating agency said in a statement.
"The humanitarian and health needs have been pressing, but the government has shown expenditure restraint so far, due to the already high public-debt burden going into the crisis, with additional relief spending representing only about 1% of GDP by our estimates. Most elements of an announced package totalling 10% of GDP are non-fiscal in nature. Some further fiscal spending of up to 1 percentage point of GDP may still be announced in the next few months, which was indicated by a recent announcement of additional borrowing for FY21 of 2% of GDP, although we do not expect a steep rise in spending," it added.