Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Moody's upgrades India's ratings: 10 things you need to know

Moody's upgrades India's ratings: 10 things you need to know

Moody's rating actions follow the upgrade of the India's local and foreign currency issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa3 on Thursday. In 2015, the rating outlook was changed from "stable" to "positive". "Baa3" is the lowest rating in the investment grade, just a notch above "junk" status. The Narendra Modi government has been pitching for an upgrade for quite some time now citing various reforms initiatives. The agency raised doubts about the country's debt levels and fragile banks, and declined to budge despite the government's criticism of its rating methodology.

But some economists said an upgrade from the other big rating agencies seemed unlikely. "The rating agency too has now confirmed it formally, which is welcome". Moody's had last upgraded the sovereign ratings of the country to Baa3 in 2004.

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Radhika Rao, an economist at DBS, said implementation of reforms, a subdued rural sector and weak investment have slowed economic growth while rising oil prices have raised the risks. "Many traders have burnt their fingers already and they are not ready to keep buying", said a dealer with a private bank.

Although Moody's acknowledged that the Indian economy has taken a beating as a result of the goods and service tax (GST) and demonetisation, it reckoned that both would turn out to be worthwhile in the long run.

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"It is a major worldwide recognition of major economic and institutional reforms undertaken by the Government of India", he said while addressing a press conference here.

Moody's move has also been cheered by market participants. "Moody's expects real GDP growth to moderate to 6.7% in the fiscal year ending in March 2018 (FY2017)", the agency said. "A clear recognition of economic & institutional reforms; well paced shift towards formalisation of the economy; improvement in business climate;positive growth outlook".

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"The reform program will thus complement the existing shock-absorbance capacity provided by India's strong growth potential and improving global competitiveness", it said.

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