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FY'13 current account deficit seen at 5.1%, says BofA ML

Last Updated: Monday, April 1, 2013 - 16:06

New Delhi: India's current account deficit, which hit record high of 6.7 percent in December quarter, is likely to come at 5.1 percent of GDP for the full fiscal year 2013, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA ML) said Monday.

"We think that the current account deficit (CAD) has peaked at 5.1 percent of GDP (earlier 5 percent) in FY13," BofA ML said in a report, adding that CAD in FY14 is likely to be 4.3 percent of GDP.

The investment banking major has hiked its FY'14 CAD forecast to 4.3 percent of GDP from 3.8 percent with slowing global recovery likely to delay export turnaround.

"In our view, the current account deficit will not come off to our 2.4 percent sustainable level as long as we live in a world of low growth - hurting export demand for engineering and textiles - and high liquidity - pumping up oil imports," it said.

It is not until 2015 that it expects growth to be sufficiently robust for the US Fed to hike rates, it added.

The current account deficit (CAD) represents the difference between inflows and outflows of foreign currency. The CAD had touched 5.4 percent of GDP in July-September quarter.

The CAD widened from 5.4 percent in Q2 (July-September) to a record high of 6.7 percent of GDP in Q3, driven mainly by large trade deficit, as per data released by RBI.

Moreover, a high deficit is likely to remain a drag on the rupee, BofA ML said adding that the rupee stalemate will persist till the RBI rebuilds forex reserves.

The forex market is witnessing a "Rupee Dilemma", and the government is likely to take various measures like withholding tax cuts (to 5 percent from 20 percent) for gilts and corporate bonds; hike FII debt limits with the RBI buying the FX leg; and floatation of NRI deposits.

Currently, the rupee is hovering around the 54 level against the US dollar.

Over the last few months, the government has taken several steps to boost dollar inflows like de-regulating NRI deposit rates, relaxing ECB norms, increasing FII debt limits, liberalisation of FDI and postponement of GAAR and higher duties on gold.


First Published: Monday, April 1, 2013 - 16:06
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