The Impact of Current Account Deficit on Economic Growth: An ARDL Approach
Tamma Reddy, T. Sita Ramaiah
In this study, we examine the linkages between External debt, Exchange rate, Current account deficit, and GDP at Factor cost for India over the period of 1975-76 to 2018- 19 using the Unit root test and Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL). The results of the unit root test reveal that GDP growth rate and External debt are integrated at the level I(0); while the Current Account deficit and Exchange rate are integrated at first order I(1). The results of the ARDL technique reveal that the current account deficit has a positive and significant impact on Real GDP. It clearly reflects the role of imports in accelerating the growth of a developing economy like India. There is also evidence that the external debt has a positive and significant impact on the Current account deficit while the Exchange rate does not have an impact on the Current account deficit. The authors opine that the external debt assists in a gradual reduction in the current account deficit and contributes to economic growth by narrowing down the saving-investment gap. As the demand for Indian exports is inelastic in the global market, the country has not benefitted from the depreciation of its currency. The authors stressed the need for focusing on further diversification of its export markets, creating a conducive environment for attracting longer-term FDIs, liberalization, promoting commercial services exports, and achieving exchange rate stability in the context of the USA-China trade war and stagnation in the world output growth. Huge untapped potential for IT-enabled services should be exploited to promote service trade. The authors point out the current account deficit in the range of 2-3 percent of GDP can be manageable.