India: Growth drivers are in place

Tushar Poddar, PhD, Macro Strategist
2022-12-31
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

The views expressed are those of the author at the time of writing. Other teams may hold different views and make different investment decisions. The value of your investment may become worth more or less than at the time of original investment. While any third-party data used is considered reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. For professional, institutional, or accredited investors only.

I recently visited India for two weeks and was struck by how much has changed, predominantly for the better, in terms of its macroeconomic picture. With that in mind, here are my latest thoughts on the macro environment, along with my high-level take on India’s equity market.

The macro picture

  • India has already gone through a debt deleveraging cycle. As a result, company balance sheets are healthier, especially in the banking sector, while credit growth is picking up. The 2017 – 2019 crisis involving India’s non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) now seems a distant memory.
  • Jobs growth in India continues to be strong (Figure 1), driven not only by the post-pandemic bounce, but also by the country’s receipt of outsourced services from the global finance, insurance and other sectors. This is leading to a virtuous cycle of increased consumer demand.
  • After eight years of stagnancy that plagued India’s real estate sector, a new real estate cycle began in late 2020, fuelled in part by the employment growth described above, but also by a trend of better housing affordability throughout much of India.
  • On the capex front, the Indian government’s incentive plan to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) is gathering momentum. As of this writing, the production-linked incentive scheme had already garnered US$30 billion in FDI commitments.
  • I did not observe any significant latent inflationary pressures, even in the rebounding hospitality and travel/airline sectors (Figure 1). Food prices are more or less in check amid a normal monsoon season thus far and can hopefully remain so, barring any unexpected shortages. 
  • My outlook for the Indian rupee (INR) and for India’s local interest rates has improved recently. Commodity prices have corrected sharply, foreign portfolio inflows have resumed and the currency does not look expensive to me from a valuation standpoint. 
  • Politically, there is no serious opposition at this time to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. In fact, Modi appears to be a “shoo-in” to win the 2024 election. Translation: a measure of political stability in India, at least for now.
Figure 1
India-growth-drivers-are-in-place-fig1

India’s equity market

On Indian equities, I think the catalysts of cleaner company balance sheets and strengthening business and consumer demand augur well for both nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and corporate earnings growth. I see India’s economy as being in much better shape structurally than it was pre-pandemic and expect GDP growth of around 7% for full-year 2022, followed by annual growth in the neighborhood of 6% – 7% over the next few years. Rising interest rates are a potential headwind, but I suspect the Reserve Bank of India will be unlikely to hike rates too aggressively for fear of dampening demand and growth.

Bottom line: While overall market valuation has been quite elevated lately, I continue to believe discerning investors should look for opportunities to “buy the dips” in India’s equity market going forward. While not my base, the biggest risk to my view is a large and sustained upward move in commodity prices, which could adversely affect India’s current and fiscal accounts and push broader inflation even higher.

Expert

Related insights

Showing of Insights Posts
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Pivot points: Five portfolio positioning ideas for the new market regime

Continue reading
event
Article
2023-12-31
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Fintech market overview: The intersection of disruption and dispersion 

Continue reading
event
Podcast
2023-11-30
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

By design and by default: Industry consolidation gathers steam across India

Continue reading
event
Quick Take
2023-11-30
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Wellington investor survey: inflationary Europe seen as top “problem child” of 2023

Continue reading
event
Quick Take
2023-11-30
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

2023 Investment Outlook

Continue reading
event
Collection
2022-12-31
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

2023 Investment Strategy Outlook

Continue reading
event
Collection
2023-12-31
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

The allocator’s landscape: Three areas of attention for 2023

Continue reading
event
Article
2023-12-31
Archived info
Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Read next