Indian economy grows at slowest rate in a decade

NEW DELHI, May 31, 2013 (AFP) – India’s economy grew by 5.0 percent in 2012/2013, its slowest annual rate in a decade, in another blow to the corruption-hit government ahead of national elections due by next year, data showed Friday. India’s wholesale inflation, its most widely watched measure, cooled last month to a surprise 41-month low of 4.89 percent. But the consumer price index is at 9.39 percent, led mainly by high food and beverage prices. Low business confidence, slumping investment, high inflation and weak export demand from Western countries are blamed for the bleak performance of the once-booming South Asian economy.

In the fourth quarter to the end of March, gross domestic product grew by 4.8 percent year-on-year, slightly higher than the previous quarter when it expanded by 4.5 percent, according to the data from the statistics ministry.

Despite government efforts to talk up the economy after a burst of pro-market reforms at the end of last year, most independent analysts see continuing slack demand and few quick fixes.

“Business activity is still sluggish,” Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist with state-run Bank of Baroda told AFP ahead of the release of the data.

The economy grew by 6.2 percent in 20