India projected to get back above 5% in GDP growth while trying to control inflation

India forecast a faster acceleration in economic growth than analysts had estimated, a prediction facing risks from interest-rate increases to quell inflation and expenditure curbs by the government.

Gross domestic product will rise 4.9 percent in the 12 months through March 31, compared with the decade-low 4.5 percent in the previous fiscal year, the Statistics Ministry said in New Delhi yesterday. The median of 24 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey had been 4.7 percent. The projection may be revised upward later and the final growth rate is unlikely to be less than 5 percent, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said in a statement e-mailed today.

India last month joined nations from Brazil to Turkey in raising interest rates, striving to stem the fastest inflation in Asia and shield the rupee from a reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus that’s hurt emerging-market assets. Opinion polls signaling that the general election due by May could lead to an unstable coalition government are adding to risks.

The rupee, down about 15 percent versus the dollar in the past year, strengthened 0.2 percent to 62.29 per dollar

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan unexpectedly raised the repurchase rate by a quarter-point to 8 percent on Jan. 28, the third increase since September.

A central bank panel has suggested India should reduce consumer-price inflation to 8 percent within one year and 6 percent by 2016, and that the RBI should then adopt a 4 percent target with a band of plus or minus two percentage points.

Consumer-price inflation slowed to 9.87 percent in December, while remaining the fastest in a basket of 18 Asia-Pacific economies tracked by Bloomberg.

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