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India's economic growth projected to slow

One of the world's fastest growing economies is projected to experience a slowdown in the current fiscal year. India's economy is forecast to grow by 7.1 percent, which would be its slowest rate of growth in three years.

India's gross domestic product (GDP) economy is expected to grow by 7.1 percent in the year 2016-2017, the country's statistics ministry said in a statement Friday. 

India's economy grew by 7.2 percent in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and 7.6 percent in 2015-2016. India's fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.

The expected drop is attributed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetization move on November 8. Modi announced the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes (about $7 and $15, or 7 and 14 euros, respectively) would no longer be legal tender.

His move, which was intended to fight tax fraud and corruption, wiped out 86 percent of India's currency and caused disruption for most Indians, who earn and spend in cash.

The estimate is primarily based on data available through October, which means it does not likely show the full impact of demonetization. Some experts have warned the rate may drop below 7 percent, even to 6.5 percent, when full-year GDP estimates are released. They are typically released in February.

"For fiscal year 2017 our growth estimate range is lower at 5.5 - 6.5 percent and this will depend on the future course of policy actions, the time taken for cash to come back into the system and what kind of budget we have," Varun Khandelwal, managing director of Bullero Capital was quoted as saying by Reuters India.

Ratings agency Fitch also lowered its growth forecast for India for the 2016-2017 fiscal year from 7.4 percent to 6.9 percent.

kbd/se (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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