India, the next Global profit story 0 1100

China and India are two large countries with India occupying a greater part of South Asia. China has its territory spanning across East Asia. The two countries together, account for 36pct of global population. China has sustained double digit GDP growth for 30 years up to 2010. India on the other hand, has grown at half the Chinese growth-rate over the same period. China has consolidated its global position becoming the second largest economy in the global landscape. In contrast, India is counted the seventh largest economy as of now, having bypassed many established economies in the traditional developed world. The economic production values and population size of these two countries make them a significant catalyst for driving global growth trends.

Many have spoken about China and its phenomenal ascent on to the global economic stage. It is common knowledge now that China would dislodge the USA from the number one position in the global ranking of economies and would come to dominate the world GDP by 2030. There is no doubt that China has been the most extraordinary growth story in the history of mankind. It has become a classic model of development economics too. For liberating 600 million people from poverty in a span of 40 years, building of course on the socialist foundations laid down since 1949, is an achievement no other democracy can boast of.

The China growth story i.e. profit story, shows that state enterprises need not necessarily be a hindrance to growth, rather they can make the difference; that public investments on infrastructure provides the big push; that import substitution is as important as exports to exploit to full advantage the advances in technology, investment and trade for economic progress; and that state-guided market forces are development friendly. This success story and underlying business cycle fundamentals continue to unfold at a rapid pace across all asset markets. Many economic commentators and businesses alike share the sentiment that China’s dominance would continue in the next 50 years.

A careful analysis of past trends seems to highlight another view. I tend to argue that India would be the next Asian miracle in terms of its Global growth story i.e. profit story, and would match China in 30 years i.e. by 2050. Imagine the emerging Asian economic landscape with China and India free of poverty, with full employment and giving leadership to a new economic order, replacing the hegemony of the West.

Population projections indicate that by 2050, India would have a population of 1,730 million whereas China would reach a population saturation point of 1,400 million (East Asian Forum.Org). These two countries combined would account for 36pct of the world population by this time. This would be a rich population, with new aspirations and changing lifestyles.

Demographic data show that India would be endowed with a relatively younger population compared to that of China (Table-1). India’s young workforce with knowledge and skills would be India’s strength. Those between 15 and 64, are expected to rise from around 64pct of its population in 2009 to 70pct in 2020. Meanwhile, China’s relatively cheap and semi-skilled cohorts of population are expected to start declining from 2014, resulting in labor shortfalls by 2050. This would mean that a more intellectually hungry, urban based middle class would take over the driving of India’s profit story and would unleash a wave of innovation in the sphere of manufacturing, technology and music and film industry. One expects an Indian resurgence in the horizon waiting to explode on the world stage.

By 2050 the Indian economy would be in a much stronger position with leading brands such as Tata, Maruti, Godrej, Infosys, Amul, Bajaj, Ashok Leyland, Asian Paints, Dabur, Apollo Tyres, Britannia, and the zestful Bollywood influencing the world on a much larger scale than what we have seen so far. In this expected scenario India would outpace China by growing at a compound rate of 8.50pct (Table-2) and would reach USD 57.2 trillion with a per capita income of USD 33,700. China in the meantime would struggle to consolidate its current growth momentum over the next 20 to 30 years. It would grow at a compounded growth rate of that of an advanced economy, growing at 3.3pct reaching 47.6 trillion USD dollars with a per capita income of USD 33,900. When compared, the numbers added together are staggering. Additionally, when we look at the merchandise trade turnover between China and India the data indicates these two countries would account for circa 30pct (USD 100 Trillion) of world merchandise exports by 2055 from its current 14.5pct.

In fact data indicates that China’s economy is already showing signs of losing steam. Slowing down has commenced, with 2018 data indicating that it grew at the weakest pace since the first quarter of 2009. This slowing down has been caused by the higher base effect, growing costs of production and labor costs are now seeping into the real economy. Chinese companies have begun to search for other Asian and South Asian economies to house their industries affected by high domestic production costs. This is an indication of how China would now be challenged in the competitive capitalist environment. A declining profit story would only compound the longer term growth trajectory (Figure-1). Added to the Chinese woes is their new breed of westernized economists who are now showing signs of losing sight of its competitive advantage obtained over the golden years of development.

Undeniable Asian Dominance in 2055

The rise of Asia spurred by India and China is inevitable, therefore Asian economies/policy makers and businesses should gradually look at their business models, cultural and geopolitical linkages and synergies thereby carving out their growth plans to suit the new world order by 2055 given that the US will be the only western country to make it into the top five economies in the world.

Whatever the superficial debates that are out there, the ground realities are undeniable and must be taken seriously or we will definitely be left behind in the dinosaur era. It is therefore crucial that Sri Lankan policy makers value both India and China as they are in the Asian continent with significant consumer markets and a burgeoning middle class fueled up with an appetite for modernity. These consumers will be pleasantly drumming up the tune of the Asian Century of World Dominance and we must be ready to dance to the beat. This outcome is indeed sweet music to the ears of Asians (Global Sri Lankans). Unfortunately, many of Sri Lankan and Asian business models are ill-prepared for this eventual reality of the Asian Century.

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IMF Extends Sri Lanka’s Fund Facility 0 838

Manuela Goretti

Ms. Manuels Goretti who has almost 13 years of work experience in the International Monetary Fund currently is a Deputy Division Chief and Asia and Pacific Department and has held this position from February 2018 to date. Prior to this position Ms. Goretti was the Advisor to the 1st Deputy Managing Director for a little over two years.

She has served as Deputy Chief in the office of Risk Management Senior Economist European Department and Economist in Emerging Markets. She has experience in country assignments in Haiti, Romania and Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Peru and Portugal.  She led the IMF staff Mission to Sri Lanka in February 14- 28, 2019 to undertake Fifth Review of Extended Fund Facility (EFF) supported Economic Reform Program of Sri Lanka in February 2019.

The IMF mission expressed optimism and predicted that economy is gradually stabilizing, however had to re-calibrate their own projections in two instances on the back of poor economic data and fiscal slippage from its original targets. Economic growth outlook for 2019 is expected to improve to about 3.5 percent from 3 percent in 2018. Inflation has regained in January and is projected to reach 4.5 percent in 2019. The current account deficit widened to 3.2 percent in 2018 but is expected to narrow in 2019 benefiting from the recent exchange rate correction.

The Mission noted that the primary surplus in the Budget in 2018 fell short of the program target due to weak revenue mobilization.  The mission further noted foreign exchange reserves target missed by sizable margins.

The staff mission also observed that sustain fiscal consolidation through revenue effort and prudent spending is priority and welcomed government commitment to raise primary fiscal surplus to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2019 and reduce the budget deficit to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2020 and 2 percent of GDP over the medium term by adopting sound fiscal rules and new medium term debt strategies.

The Mission emphasized the need for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to preserve the gains of the economic reform program, support macro-economic stability and strengthen the economic resilience considering the high level of public debt and low international reserve buffers.

The Mission highlighted the need for an improved transparency, accountability and cost efficiently of large state owned enterprises. It also advised government to move forward with plans to bring Sri Lankan Airlines on sound commercial and financial footings and has insisted upon completing energy pricing reforms in order to address fiscal risks.

The staff team endorsed the commitment of the Central Bank to rebuild international reserve buffers and allow exchange rate flexibility. However, rapid slippage in the rupee and cost escalations has pushed the government to reign back the free fall with new fiscal measures on consumer imports.

It advised the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to continue to maintain a prudent and data dependent monetary policy, and stands ready to tighten policy rate inflationary pressures which re-emerged.

The team also emphasized the need for the government’s consistent implementation of the Inland Revenue Act and the modernization of the Inland Revenue and Customs Departments.

The Mission in its deliberation left three messages with the Government

  1. Revenue based fiscal consolidation and state enterprise reforms are needed.
  2. A prudent policy mix and exchange rate flexibility to rebuilt foreign exchange reserves are critical to strengthen resilience and market confidence.
  3. Strengthening institutions and fast tracking structural reforms can lay the foundation for strong sustainable and inclusive growth in Sri Lanka.

The IMF staff mission agreed to the government’s request to extend the EFF arrangement for an additional year to allow more time for the completion of the economic reform agenda. The IMF Board of Directors is expected to consider Sri Lanka’s request favorably in 2019.

By: BiZnomics Special Economic Correspondent

Global non – inclusive growth; Extract from article by Christean Lagarde 0 735

IMF Chief Christean Lagarde in her message in the IMF Annual Report 2018 says that countries should promote an open and rule basis multilateral trading system, and should strive to make new technologies work for all – boosting rather than undermining inclusive growth and financial stability.

According to her, the growth momentum of the global economy is under pressure from a slow erosion / weakening of trust in institution due to, a) the lingering effects of the global financial crisis. b) perception that the rewards of economic growth and globalization are not being shared fairly and equitably. c) anxiety over future of jobs and economic opportunity. d) weak governance frameworks that often facilitate corruption. She further emphasizes that population ageing and over-funding of pension schemes are holding back economic momentum. Income disparities are widening and if unaddressed the climate change is likely to severely disrupt economic wellbeing in the decades ahead.

Lagarde urged that European Union (EU) leaders need to redouble their efforts to lift living standards across the continent as populist movements question the merits of integration. The poorer southern countries in the EU have not caught up with their richer northern peers – a gap that has worsened since the global financial crisis. Between 2008 and 2017, the average annual growth in real income per person, was negative in the five southern members of the euro zone, hit hardest by the crisis.

She urged EU countries to reform their labor markets so that firms have greater flexibility in hiring and firing workers and their business climate becoming more welcoming to investment. These developments it is hoped, would increase spending on research and development.

Lagarde’s remarks come amid a turbulent debate over Britain’s exit from the EU, as well as amidst signs of spluttering growth in the world’s biggest economic bloc. The IMF partly blamed softening demand across Europe for having to cut its 2019 forecast for global growth, for the second time in three months.

South Asia to remain fastest growing region in world

The World Bank Global Economic Prospects Report released on 05th February 2019, expects South Asian regional growth to accelerate to 7.1 percent in 2019, under pinned by strengthening investment and robust consumption. India is forecast to grow by 7.3 percent as consumption remains robust and investment growth continues. Bangladesh is expected to grow by 7.0 percent supported by strong construction and infrastructure investments. Nepal growth forecast to moderate to 5.9 percent. Sri Lanka is anticipated to grow by 4.0 percent supported by domestic demand and infrastructure projects. Pakistan is projected to decelerate by 3.3 percent with financial conditions tightening.

By: Econsult