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Last updated: 25 Feb, 2020  

India.Growth.9.Thmb.jpg Corona virus threat to economy!

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Bikky Khosla | 25 Feb, 2020

With the US and China nearing an agreement after a year-and-a-half-long trade war, there was a glimmer of hope for recovery in global growth early this year. But now the world is worrying anew due to the deadly Corona virus -- originating in China and now spreading beyond its borders. Stocks in India and around the world tumbled on Monday, and though the outbreak does not pose an imminent threat to the Indian economy, the situation demands careful monitoring on part of our government.

China, the second biggest economy of the world, forms a major block of the economic chain in which the global markets operate, and therefore China's economic ailment is bound to impact the global slowdown. According to some estimates, the SARS outbreak in China in 2002-03 impacted the country's GDP growth rate by 1.1 to 2.6 percentage point, and now in 2020 -- when the global economy is more interconnected -- the Corona virus outbreak can have worse impact.

A grim global economic outlook is not good news for India, and most importantly it came at a difficult time for our economy. India's reliance on China is spread across sectors, such as pharma, chemical, auto component, solar, steel, telecom, white goods, electronic components, consumer durables, footwear, apparel, etc. This dependence is expected to have a significant impact on our economy. At the same time, exports to China, now at USD 15bn, could also get hit, especially in the area like petrochemicals.

Last week, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman -- while allaying any immediate worries about scarcity of any raw materials due to the Corona virus epidemic-- declared that she would discuss with the PMO about the relief that could be offered to industry. It is a welcome move, and we hope the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Indian economy, which is just about showing some nascent signs of recovery, can overcome this tough phase.

I invite your opinions.

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