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India third quarter GDP growth stronger than expected

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India's economy grew by 4.8 percent in the third quarter year-on-year, narrowly beating analysts' forecasts.

Economists polled by Reuters had estimated the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) country grew by 4.6 percent between July and September.

(CNBC Explains: BRICs)

Mark Williams, the chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, attributed the better-than-expected growth to an improvement in exports and investment. He had seen growth coming in at 4.7 percent.

India's growth has disappointed in recent quarters, with growth decelerating from above 9 percent in 2010 to as low as 4.4 percent in the second quarter 2013 — lagging far behind economic rival China, which has maintained growth rates above 7 percent this year.

However, Goldman Sachs forecast on Thursday that growth would accelerate in the next fiscal year (April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015), due to an improvement in exports and an increase in investment demand.

(Read more: India's turnaround is very close: Goldman Sachs)

Williams agreed that growth would pick up next year, but only to about 5 percent.

"It would take significant structural reforms to elevate Indian growth back to the 8 or 9 percent level and that there is no sign that is going to happen any time soon. One of of the big problems is the inability to get large investment projects off the ground. Across the country, projects have stalled or haven't got approval to even start. So something has to be done to clear that backlog," he said.

Capital Economics said that India's upturn would be "slow and bumpy", in a research note out after the numbers were published.

"The monthly data suggest that the momentum of the recovery is not particularly strong. ... Overall, we think that the recovery will be relatively subdued," it said.

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