S&P retains BBB- rating on India; keeps outlook stable

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It said its stable outlook for India reflects its sound external account position.

"S&P Global Ratings affirmed its unsolicited long and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of India at "BBB-/A-3".

Although the agency appreciated the reforms of the centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it made a decision to keep its ratings lowest on its table.

In the Economic Survey for 2016-17, an hard-hitting analysis of RBI suggested that if the per capita GDP is key to upgrading sovereign rating - as suggested by Standard & Poor's while maintaining status quo on India's rating in November, 2016 - then poorer countries might be provoked into saying, "Please don't bother this year, come back to assess us after half a century".

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In October, S&P had said India needs to improve its fiscal position for a rating upgrade. The rating, however, remained unchanged at BBB- and it stays the same for now.

India's sizable fiscal deficit, low per capita income and high government debt detract from sovereign credit profile, S&P said, adding that fiscal gap is in line with expectations.

The Moody's ratings of Baa2 is an investment grade rating and marginally better than S&P's current assessment.

The upward pressure could also build if India's external accounts strengthen significantly.

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The government, though, maintains that the government was on course to meet the fiscal deficit target.

The growth outlook is supported by rising private consumption, an ambitious public infrastructure investment programme and a bank restructuring plan that should help revive investment.

It said one-off factors like demonetisation and the imposition of a goods and services tax (GST) had led to some quarterly cooling in India's high growth figures but the medium-term outlook for growth remains favourable.

The upgrade has been accompanied by a change in the outlook for India's rating to "stable" from "positive".

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Last month, the World Bank had moved India up 30 places in its annual ease of doing business rankings. The removal of barriers to domestic trade tied to the imposition of GST should also support GDP growth.

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