In my article last month (“The lockdown hammer”, Business Standard, May 14) I presented two scenarios of real GDP growth during FY 2020/21, one yielding (-) 11 per cent and the other (-) 14 per cent in the full fiscal year, with the damage being concentrated in the first quarter, amounting to (-) 25 per cent and (-) 33 per cent, respectively. At that time I felt a bit lonely, with the IMF, the World Bank, most investment banks and credit rating agencies and dear old finance ministry still clustering their FY 2020-21 growth projections in the 0-2 per cent positive range. In the weeks since, there has been a growing flood of negative growth projections, including: Goldman Sachs and CRISIL at (-5) per cent, Bernstein and State Bank of India at (-) 7 per cent and the Reserve Bank of India also expecting negative growth (though coyly avoiding any numerical guidance). Among individual economists, former chief statistician, Pronab Sen, reportedly expects (-) 11 per cent. Interestingly, Goldman and CRISIL project first quarter growth to be (-) 45 per cent and (-) 25 per cent, respectively, very much in my range. Indeed, Goldman expects an even deeper plunge than either of my scenarios.
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