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Fitch action based on older data, says Pranab

PTI 18 Jun 2012, 18:54:18 IST
New Delhi, June 18:  Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today rejected Fitch downgrade of India's credit outlook to negative saying the rating agency's action was based on “older data” as it ignored recent positive trends.

“While the markets had already anticipated that Fitch would revise the outlook and so there is no surprise in the announcement, it must be pointed out that Fitch has primarily relied on older data, and has ignored the recent positive trends in the Indian economy,” Mukherjee said in a statement.

Fitch today lowered India's credit rating outlook to negative from stable, less than three months after rival Standard and Poor's did a similar downgrade. It cited corruption, inadequate reforms, high inflation and slow growth as reasons for the revision.
Mukherjee said that Fitch has not taken note of many of the government's recent initiatives including fertiliser subsidy reform, capping subsidies as a fraction of GDP, new manufacturing and telecom policies.

“It (Fitch) has missed the process of strengthening of public finances in India as is evident by, inter-alia, a gradual reduction of government debt/GDP ratio in the last few years, as compared to an increase in this ratio for most of the major economies in the world,” the Finance Minister noted.

According to Mukherjee, the concerns expressed by the rating agency on the economic growth potential, inflationary pressures and weak public finances have already been “taken note of”  by the government.

In its report, Fitch said that India faces an “awkward combination” of slow growth and elevated inflation. Further, the country is also facing “structural challenges surrounding its investment climate in the form of corruption and inadequate economic reforms”, it added.