Credit rating agency S&P Global said on Wednesday the second wave of COVID-19 infections in India could impede the country’s economic recovery and expose other nations to further waves of outbreaks.
“In addition to the substantial loss of life and significant humanitarian concerns, S&P Global Ratings believes the outbreak poses downside risks to GDP and heightens the possibility of business disruptions,” the rating agency said in a note.
India’s healthcare system has been overwhelmed, with the world’s second most populous country reporting more than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases daily over the past six days and the number of dead is set to cross 200,000.
S&P, which has a long-term credit rating of ‘BBB-‘ on India, just one notch above junk, said it may have to revise its base-case assumption of 11 per cent growth over fiscal 2021-22, especially if wider containment measures are re-imposed.
S&P expects the consumer retail and airport sectors to have a dragged out recovery with localized lockdowns and curfews in several parts of the country, and said the Indian banking sector continued to face a “high level of systemic risk”.
The rating agency noted that the pace and scale of recovery from the second wave of COVID-19 infections will have implications for India’s sovereign credit rating.
The Asia-Pacific region is susceptible to contagion from the highly infectious COVID-19 variants present in India, given the low ratios of vaccination in the region, S&P said.