Belfast Telegraph

There is still potential in India's emerging market

By Simon Read

India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first budget last month. It followed a relatively strong run in Indian equities; in fact India has been the best-performing market globally this year.

Will that continue and should investors keep faith with funds invested in the region? Or is it time to take profits and shift savings elsewhere?

Darius McDermott at the fund supermarket Chelsea Financial Services believes there's plenty more upside.

"India is one of my favourite emerging-market investments for the long term," he said. "Its large current-account deficit made the market quite reliant on foreign capital flows and the strength of the US dollar, so the currency in particular was hit hard when tapering talks began last year. But things are now looking up."

He pointed out that the deficit is now starting to improve, having fallen from 4.9% of GDP at the beginning of 2013 to around 2% now, and inflation is falling.

"Most importantly, this is the first time in 30 years that India has not had a coalition government and the first time in its history that a government with a non-socialist, pro-market philosophy will be in power with a majority."

This, said Mr McDermott, means that while it will remain a volatile market in the short term – so not necessarily for the nervous – in the longer term the new government could really make a difference.

"We need to see that reforms are headed in the right direction, even if they take time," he said. "There is real potential in the market and the economy has great demographics, with a young and very highly educated population."

Avinash Vazirani, manager of the Jupiter India fund, said last month's budget was positive.

"The small print was impressive and I take an optimistic view of what the finance minister is trying to achieve," he said.

"With valuations marginally above the 10-year average, an economy at the bottom of its current cycle and a huge number of positives set to come through as a result of the budget, in my view there is still significant scope for further upside in equities in the medium-to-long term."

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