Indian growth revision raises reliability fears
NEW DELHI - Agence France-Presse
An Indian employee checks reels of thread on a carpet weaving machine at a factory in Jammu. India is set to announce dismal new economic growth figures today. AFP photoIndia has quietly revised a slew of key economic data ahead of new GDP figures due out today, a move economists say raises questions about the reliability of the country’s financial records.
India’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) has a history of making frequent small revisions, but seasoned experts have been startled by the scale of the latest changes, which were released unannounced on the Internet. Among the most significant alterations, the CSO sharply downgraded growth in the last quarter of the financial year to March 2009 from 5.9 percent to 3.5 percent. “That big revision more than three years after the event doesn’t leave one with great confidence in the quality of these numbers,” Credit Suisse economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde told AFP yesterday.
“This also adds an extra degree of uncertainty for policymakers,” he said. When the government released its latest quarterly figures, from January to March this year, showing expansion of 5.3 percent, it made headlines for showing the slowest pace of quarterly growth in nine years. According to the revised figures, that pace of growth is the weakest in three years. The revisions change India’s growth performance during and after the last global financial crisis.