Free Press Journal

‘Chidambaram may positively surprise markets on deficit front’


Mumbai: Higher-than-expected non-tax revenue and expenditure cuts may help peg fiscal deficit target below the projected 4.8 per cent in the current fiscal, and project the revenue-expenditure gap next fiscal at 4.2 per cent of GDP, says a report.

“We expect Finance Minister P Chidambaram to meet the fiscal deficit target of 4.8 per cent of GDP for FY14, which he has defined as the ‘red-line’,” Standard Chartered said in a report today.

“We even see a possibility that the finance minister will positively surprise the market by announcing a deficit below 4.8 per cent,” it added.

Standard Chartered has also projected the FY15 gross market borrowing at Rs 5.8-6 trillion or 4.2 percent of GDP.

The report also said the government will end the current fiscal with a cash surplus of about Rs 1 trillion, despite the cancellation of the Rs 15,000 crore G-sec auction, as national small savings fund collection had exceeded the budgeted amount by Rs 36,100 crore as of end December.

The report said that non-tax revenues, including disinvestment proceeds, could surprise on the upside as dividend flows from state-run enterprises have been higher than anticipated.

“We expect the government to end FY14 with dividend/ profit collection of 0.85 per cent of GDP, exceeding its target of 0.65 per cent,” the report said.

The ongoing spectrum auctions are likely to yield enough revenues to meet the budgeted proceeds, the report said. Already on the ninth day of the auctions, the government is assured of close to Rs 62,000 crore in bid amounts.

The report expects the government to trim expenditure by 0.55 per cent of GDP to meet the fiscal deficit target.

In the run-up to the general elections, Chidambaram will present the vote-on-account next Monday.

The market participants will closely watch the FY15 fiscal deficit target, which will determine the size of market borrowing for the next fiscal year, according to the report.