Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday said the shock ban on high-denomination currency notes will in the near term significantly disrupt economic activity and lead to weaker growth, but in the long run can boost tax revenues and translate into faster fiscal consolidation.
With 86 per cent of the currency in circulation being swept away with the ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, households and businesses will experience liquidity shortages for a few months, it said, adding demonetisation will “weigh on GDP growth for a few quarters, dampening government revenues.”
But in the medium term, higher income declarations by way of deposits of banned notes will boost tax revenues which will support government’s capital expenditure programme and support fiscal consolidation, it said.
In a report titled ‘Indian Credit—Demonetisation Is Beneficial for Indian Government and Banks; Implementation Challenges Will Disrupt Economic Activity’, Moody’s said the demonetisation move is affecting all sectors of the economy to various extent, with banks being the key beneficiaries.
“Although the measures in the near term will pressure GDP growth and thereby government revenues, in the longer term they should boost tax revenues and translate into higher government capital expenditure and/or faster fiscal consolidation,” Moody’s Sovereign Group Associate MD Marie Diron said.
Moody’s added there will be loss of wealth for individuals and corporates with unreported income, as some will choose not to deposit funds back into the formal financial system to avoid disclosing the sources of these funds.
In the immediate period, demonetisation would “significantly disrupt economic activity, resulting in temporarily weaker consumption and GDP growth,” it maintained.
Households and businesses will experience liquidity shortages as cash is taken out of the system, with a daily limit on the amount in old notes that can be exchanged into new notes.
“Corporates will see economic activity decline, with lower sales volumes and cash flows, with those directly exposed to retail sales most affected,” Moody’s Corporate Finance Group MD Laura Acres said.
However, greater formalisation of economic and financial activity would ultimately help broaden the tax base and expand usage of the financial system, which would be credit positive, it added.
In a separate report, S&P Global Ratings too said demonetisation would be positive in long-term, but will have a transitory impact on growth in the short run and could hurt banks’ asset quality.