This Week in Data #1
Welcome to this inaugural edition of our ‘This Week in Data’ newsletter. We will summarise the key data releases during the week that has just ended. And we look forward to what the next week holds in terms of data.
Some of these releases we will cover in slightly more detail and cover them under 'DataBytes' or 'Musings' section of the Insights section of our website. And some of them will get covered in our periodic or special reports.
This newsletter is thus an extension of the Calendar and the Data snippets that we have recently deployed on the revised Insights page of the IndiaDataHub website. In case you have not checked it out, please do. We hope you find this newsletter useful. Let us get started:
The high-frequency data being reported currently is unusually strong due to the base effect. The economy was reeling under the impact of the severe second wave of the pandemic during April-June last year and thus most economic data was subdued relative to the pre-pandemic period. So there is a need to not overinterpret the strong reported growth, though it will flow through into reported GDP numbers also.
Accordingly, the Core Sector growth accelerated to 18% YoY in May, 2x the growth in April. Coal production grew over 20% YoY for the second consecutive month. Fertilizer, Cement, and Power all grew over 20% YoY in May.
In the same vein, GST Collection grew almost 60% YoY in June 2022. This is the highest growth since May last year. Note that the collections in June correspond to the economic activity in May. Sequentially though collections grew a modest 2% MoM.
The Central Government's Gross tax revenue grew 20% YoY in May. This is slower than the over 35% growth in April. Barring Excise collections which are declining (due to the reduction in excise duty on Petrol/Diesel), all other taxes have seen strong growth.
Credit growth has continued to accelerate. As of mid-June, Credit growth has accelerated to over 12% YoY. This is the highest growth since August 2019. Deposit growth continues to moderate and the gap between the two has widened to almost 4ppt.
Both Services Exports & Imports accelerated in May. However, for the second consecutive month, Services Imports have grown faster than Exports. Exports grew 32% YoY while Imports grew 53% YoY in May.
India’s Foreign Exchange reserves increased by US$2.7bn in the week ending June 24. This comes after two consecutive weeks of decline during which FX Reserves declined by more than US$10bn.
India’s External Debt rose to US$621bn as of March 2022. This is 8% higher on a YoY basis. More importantly, though, external debt relative to GDP has reverted to the pre-pandemic level. As of March 2022 external debt was 19.9% of GDP, the same level as at March 2019 and down from 21.2% as of March 2021.
Kharif sowing has picked up this past week. On a YoY basis, acreage is down just 5% as of 1st July. Rice sowing is still lagging though Cotton and Coarse Cereals are now up YoY.
Growth in currency in circulation has moderated to 8% YoY in the last couple of weeks. This is over 2ppt slower than the growth during April.
The next week will also be reasonably data-heavy. We will get the first look at how economic activity fared in June through a host of data including Automobile sales, Power generation, Port traffic, Railway freight, NREGA labour demand and Petroleum demand.