The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary– October 27, 2023; Day 487 (1)
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Difficult Word/ PhraseContextual Sense
Turmoil A state of confusion
Fragmentation Breaking into small parts
Balance out to be equal in amount or value, or to make things equal in amount or value
Ebb decline
Erupt Start abruptly
Flag to draw attention to (something)
Spike A sharp rise followed by a sharp decline
Glimpse A quick look
Sell-off a sale of shares, bonds, or commodities, especially one that causes a fall in price
Bourse a stock market
Sanguine Confidently optimistic and cheerful
Firm up becomes clearer, stronger, or more definite
Imminent Close in time; about to occur
Bolster strengthened
Slump a sudden large fall in sales, prices, the value of something, etc.
Hamper Prevent the progress or free movement of

Renewed risks: On the RBI and how global uncertainties have compounded  

Fresh global turmoil (A state of confusion) clouds the economic outlook for the rest of 2023-24 

On October 6, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stuck to its 6.5% GDP growth projection for the year, with risks from geopolitical tensions, economic fragmentation (Breaking into small parts), volatile financial markets and an uneven monsoon, evenly balanced out (to be equal in amount or value, or to make things equal in amount or value) by strengthening domestic demand. There was a belief that a period of heightened uncertainties was ebbing (decline) but as the central bank Governor signalled last Friday, new uncertainties have emerged over the fortnight since. The Israel-Hamas conflict that erupted (Start abruptly) a day after the monetary policy review has widened, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has flagged (to draw attention to (something)) worries about implications on global food, fuel and fertilizer supplies. Given India’s dependence on fuel and fertilizer imports, disruptions or price spikes (A sharp rise followed by a sharp decline) could hurt the macro-economic framework, even if the government refrains from passing on higher prices to consumers and farmers in the election season. The RBI chief also pointed to rising U.S. bond yields, which hit a 16-year high of 5% this week, mixed data points and signals from central banks around the world, as the new unknowns — even as known unknowns such as financial market turmoil — have got more pronounced. A glimpse (A quick look) of this anxiety was visible this week, with the sharpest sell-off (a sale of shares, bonds, or commodities, especially one that causes a fall in price) on Indian bourses (a stock market) since July.

There is no certainty that the RBI would still uphold its ‘evenly balanced’ outlook towards the risks to growth. However, the Finance Ministry, while acknowledging that global uncertainties have compounded, seems largely sanguine (Confidently optimistic and cheerful) for now in its outlook for the economy. Its monthly economic review released on Monday asserts that growth “remains on track”, inflation is easing after a “temporary” seasonal surge in July-August, consumption demand is strengthening and investment demand is “also firming up (becomes clearer, stronger, or more definite)”. On the “imminent (Close in time; about to occur) fears” of rising crude oil prices, it noted that July-September quarter prices were still “way lower” than the $109.5 and $97.9 averages in the first and second quarter of 2022-23. The weak foreign trade picture is expected to recover and industrial job creation prospects are high for the next two quarters, while higher demand for housing and vehicle loans reflects bolstered (strengthened) confidence levels in households, it added. India’s macro fundamentals may well hold up through the latest global storm, but the government would do well to drill a little deeper into consumption and hiring trends. The last quarter has seen a sharp slump (a sudden large fall in sales, prices, the value of something, etc.) in small car sales, consumer non-durables producers reporting weak rural demand and IT firms scaling down growth and hiring hopes. There is still much to be done to correct an uneven recovery, which would eventually hamper (Prevent the progress or free movement of) a broader investment revival.

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