Moody's upgrades India's sovereign rating to Baa2 with stable outlook

19 November, 2017, 02:30 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI file

Moody's Investors Service upgraded its ratings on India's sovereign bonds for the first time in almost 14 years on Friday, saying continued progress on economic and institutional reform will boost the country's growth potential. The rating upgrade comes after a gap of 13 years - Moody's had last upgraded India's rating to "Baa3" in 2004. "More importantly, it also emboldens the government to stay true to the path of strong and transformational reforms in the coming days", he added. This is the first time in 13 years that the global rating agency has raised India's assessment - to Baa2 from Baa3 - indicating that the economy has moved from "stable" to "positive", and is on a high growth trajectory.

Terming the ratings upgrade by Moody's as a "positive measure", SBI (State Bank of India) chairman Rajnish Kumar said it will make foreign funds cheaper for both corporates as well as his bank.

In a statement, it further said: "While India's high debt burden remains a constraint on the country's credit profile, Moody's believes that the reforms put in place have reduced the risk of a sharp increase in debt, even in potential downside scenarios".

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Upgradation of India's credit rating by Moody's is a big news, because it has been done after 14 years, and done at a time when business analysts and observers are severely questioning PM Modi's decisions to implement GST and ban 80% of currencies overnight.

Atul Pandey, Associate Partner, Khaitan and Co said the present government in last three years has carried out several economic regulatory reforms which has attracted more foreign investment and has also eased doing of business in India.

Nifty Bank hit a fresh record high on Moody's changing the outlook on the rating to stable from positive.

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However, there were some experts that differed. Ratings changes are very slow, infrequent and at most times move with a lag to market expectations, he said.

"The reform program will thus complement the existing shock-absorbance capacity provided by India's strong growth potential and improving global competitiveness", it said.

"Markets should worry that the government now having received the ratings upgrade, may actually slacken and relax its commitment to reducing fiscal deficit, as per the stated plan - especially, at a time when investors seem to be worrying about the same as reflected in the increase in bond yields of more than 50 bps since August 2017,"said Mr Chari". "We should celebrate Moody's upgrade by holding a midnight ceremony in Central Hall of Parliament and damn Standard and Poor". Concerns on it have been voiced in the past few months, with several state governments announcing farm loan waivers and the Centre under pressure to boost growth through fiscal stimulus measures.

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