India May Buy Russian Crude Oil Beyond G-7 Cap, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, recently spoke about a variety of economic topics, including the possibility of purchasing Russian crude oil above the G-7 imposed price cap, job creation, the Adani-Hindenburg saga, the RBI’s pause, and the country’s fiscal glide path. In a wide-ranging interview, she shared her thoughts on India’s economic challenges, highlighting external factors such as the OPEC+ output cut and the spillover of decisions related to Russia’s war in Ukraine as issues that could pose a threat to the country’s recovery.
Here are some of the key takeaways from her interview:
The Russian Crude Oil Conundrum
Sitharaman noted that India will continuously evaluate where it can get the best deals for critical inputs like crude oil. She acknowledged that it may mean purchasing Russian crude oil above the G-7 imposed price cap if the recent OPEC+ output cut increases energy costs. However, she also emphasized that the country would look at “affordable prices” to serve its large population.
Fiscal Glide Path
Sitharaman confirmed that the government aims to adhere to the budgeted target of 5.9% for the fiscal year starting in April. She also acknowledged that the government has been careful and will continue on its glide path.
Sitharaman stated that the Reserve Bank of India has found reasonable justification to pause for now. She added that the central bank has given a hawkish outlook for India’s inflation, but the price-gain trajectory will depend on monsoon rainfall going ahead.
Regarding the Adani-Hindenburg saga, Sitharaman noted that the Government of India stays at a distance from companies. She added that a Supreme Court-monitored panel will probe allegations made by the US short-seller Hindenburg Research against the Adani Group. However, she refrained from commenting as the judiciary is still reviewing the case.
Sitharaman revealed that the government’s current emphasis is on filling vacant jobs that have already been sanctioned or available in the government. She added that there’s a lot of skilling happening in the private sector as well.
Sitharaman acknowledged that cryptocurrencies have macro-stability implications, and she revealed that the country is waiting for a consensus among G-20 members. If there is an agreement, India will look at a broad framework, and each country can adopt its own legislative framework.
In conclusion, India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, addressed several issues related to the country’s economy. She emphasized that India will continue to evaluate where it can get the best deals for critical inputs like crude oil, and that the government will adhere to its fiscal glide path. She also noted that job creation remains a key focus area for the government, and that the country is waiting for a consensus among G-20 members on cryptocurrencies.