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All engines of demand starting to fire, says RBI

Date: 02-03-2021
Subject: All engines of demand starting to fire, says RBI
MUMBAI: The RBI’s state of the economy note has said that there is economic recovery with drop in Covid cases and “all engines of aggregate demand are starting to fire”. 

The central bank has also said that the only thing missing is private sector investment as even bank credit has started to pick up steam. 

“Economic activity is gaining steam as Covid incidence recedes and the ongoing vaccine rollout releases pent-up optimism,” the RBI said. 

One of the indicators of improved demand was the rise in power consumption. Peak power demand touched a new high, hitting 189.6GW on January 30 and surpassing all previous records. 

Electricity consumption continued to expand through January and February this year for the fifth and sixth successive months, growing at 4.8% and 7.3%, respectively. 

The household survey of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) finds that employment conditions improved through January 2021, with average employment rate inching up to 37.9% from 36.9% a month ago. 

 “Sectors like real estate, construction and services, which suffered employment losses during the lockdown, have evidently recovered to pre-Covid levels,” the report said. 

“In terms of nominal GDP, 96% of pre-pandemic economic activity has been restored, assuming that the National Statistical Office’s first advance estimates hold,” said the report co-authored by RBI deputy governor Michael Patra and his colleagues. 

On the external front, India’s merchandise exports held on to their upward trajectory, growing by 6.2% (year-on-year) in January 2021 — the second consecutive month of expansion. Non-oil exports grew 11.5%, marking the fifth straight month of expansion. 

Noting that in the race between infections and injections, vaccinations are gathering pace, the RBI has said that India is taking the road less travelled in three ways. 

First, there has been a drop in the number of infections. Second, there is a view gaining ground that crowded cities and towns may be in the early stages of herd immunity. Third, age is on the side of the country with 95% of the population below the age of 65. 


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