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Rising Crude Oil Prices a Key Worry, Says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

In an exclusive interview to Network 18, Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that if global crude oil prices remain within manageable limits and the monsoon rains were normal this year, India could look at a faster growth rate.

News18.com

Updated:February 3, 2018, 10:32 PM IST
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Rising Crude Oil Prices a Key Worry, Says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Crude oil prices have touched USD 70 per barrel. (Image for representation only. Photo: Reuters)
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New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday flagged rising crude oil prices as a key worry that can potentially fan inflation and also affect the broader economy's pace of expansion.

"We have to see to what extent the crude oil prices rise. Today crude oil prices have touched USD 70 per barrel. It is in the outer periphery of our comfort threshold," Jaitley told Network 18 in an exclusive interview.

"I want it to remain below this level. If it goes above this level, since we are a net buyer, it will have an impact on inflation. While we have one eye on monsoon, the other eye is on crude oil prices," the finance minister said.

Jaitley said that if global crude oil prices remain within manageable limits and the monsoon rains were normal this year, India could look at a faster growth rate.

"In these conditions (normal monsoon and relatively steady crude oil prices), our level of ambition can rise," he said.

The Economic Survey 2017-18, tabled in Parliament this week, has also cautioned against hardening crude oil prices that can have a dampening effect on GDP growth in the coming year.

In the first three quarters of 2017-18, the oil prices have risen about 16 per cent greater in dollar terms compared to last year. Chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian said on Monday that every USD 10 per barrel increase in oil price brings down GDP by around 0.2-0.3 percentage points and worsens the CAD (Current Account Deficit) by about USD 9-10 billion dollars.

Crude oil prices are now hovering around USD 70 a barrel from about USD 50 in the beginning of November.

The Economic Survey has projected that India's GDP will grow at 7 to 7.5 percent in 2018-19, accelerating from an expected 6.75 percent expansion this year that was marred by the twin disruptions of demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST).

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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