India quarterly growth rises to 13.5% after pandemic slump

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NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s economy grew by 13.5% in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, pushed up by a boost in agriculture and manufacturing as pandemic curbs eased, official figures released Wednesday show.

The jump follows a 4.1% slump in the January-March quarter, but is lower than the 20.1% annual growth registered in the same quarter the previous year.

However, economists have cautioned that the growth this quarter may be followed by a slowdown. In July, the International Monetary Fund revised its growth forecast for India from 8.2% to 7.4% for the current fiscal year, which began in April.

Despite the revision, India would still be among the fastest-growing major economies in the world.

The double-digit growth in the April-June quarter comes at a time when the global economy is under strain, with major countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom facing high inflation. Prices have been rising as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, triggering increased prices for energy and food.

India’s economy, Asia’s third largest, had been recovering from a pandemic-induced slump when a surge in omicron-fueled coronavirus cases starting in January prompted authorities to bring back some virus-related restrictions.

Multiple waves of COVID-19 outbreaks have badly hit India’s large informal sector, with unemployment rising to nearly 8.5% in August, according to data from the think tank Center for Monitoring Indian Economy.

India’s central bank projected inflation at 6.7% this fiscal year and raised its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 5.4%, in its third such hike since May.

The economy expanded by 8.7% in the previous fiscal year after contracting by 6.6% in fiscal year 2020-21.