A sudden surge in crude prices can
upset the nation's key macro-stability parameters, as it can
sharply spike the current account deficit (CAD), inflation and
the fiscal numbers, whittling the benefits of higher growth,
warns an RBI study.
Since the country is heavily dependent on oil imports
demand, it remains susceptible to global crude price shocks.
Besides CAD, rise in crude prices can also impact
inflation and fiscal deficit, says the report.
The international crude prices increased by around 12
per cent between April and September 2018.
The mid-year spike in crude prices happened mainly due
to spurt in demand, on the back of global growth revival, and
partly due to geopolitical risks that led to supply-side
However since mid-November 2018, the crude prices have
declined significantly but they remain volatile.
"An increase in crude price worsens the CAD and this
adverse impact cannot be significantly contained through a
higher growth. So, a crude price shock will be followed by
high CAD to GDP ratio," says the latest issue of the Mint
Street Memos titled 'The Impact of Crude Price Shock on CAD,
Inflation and Fiscal Deficit' pencilled by in-house economists
at the central bank.
The finding shows that in the worst case scenario,
when crude prices hit USD 85/barrel, the deficit on account of
oil balloons to USD 106.4 billion, which is 3.61 per cent of
"Every USD 10/barrel increase in crude prices leads to
an additional USD 12.5 billion deficit, which is roughly 43
bps of the country's GDP. So, every USD 10/barrel increase in
crude price will shoot up the CAD/GDP ratio by 43 bps," it
The study says crude price shock will increase
inflation, if the price increase is passed on directly to the
"Under the most conservative estimate, we quantify
that a USD 10/barrel increase in crude price at the price of
USD 65/barrel will lead to a 49 basis points increase in
headline inflation. A similar increase at USD 55/barrel gives
around a 58 bps increase in headline inflation," it says.
Further, if the government decides on a zero
pass-through to the final consumers, a USD 10/barrel spike in
crude prices could increase the fiscal deficit by 43 bps.
This zero pass-through scenario allows us to put an
upper band on the amount of fiscal slippage, it adds.
depend on the level of government intervention (changes in tax
and subsidy) in the domestic oil market, the study concludes.
PTI HV BEN
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